The Resonance of Colonial Era Customary Codes in Contemporary Uganda

25 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2020

See all articles by D. Dennison

D. Dennison

Regent University - School of Law

Date Written: December 12, 2019


Colonial era codifications of customary law – especially those codified in indigenous first languages – have a resilient capacity to form and inform living customary law. In the context of Mukono District, Uganda, modern conceptions of customary law are informed and shaped by colonial era codifications promulgated by the British Protectorate and the Kingdom of Buganda. This research insight offers practical benefits to those seeking to promote access to justice and human rights development in Mukono District. Such benefits speak to the potential vitality and relevance of colonial era customary codifications. Misgivings about the alien influences and exploitative purposes that distorted and corrupted colonial era codes do not warrant disregard oftheir active legacy within modern customary legal frameworks. The use of receptive research approaches such as those developed and modelled by Sally Falk Moore can help ensure the ongoing influence of colonial era codes are not hidden by contemporary orthodoxies and biases.

Keywords: Customary law, recording customary law, colonial codification, colonialism, post-colonialism, semi-autonomous social field, legal anthropology; legal pluralism, Kabaka, Uganda, Buganda, Baganda, Mukono District

Suggested Citation

Dennison, David, The Resonance of Colonial Era Customary Codes in Contemporary Uganda (December 12, 2019). Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, Vol. 22, 2019, Available at SSRN:

David Dennison (Contact Author)

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States

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