Toolkit or Tinderbox? When Legal Systems Interface Conflict

43 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2021 Last revised: 7 May 2021

Date Written: August 15, 2019


In the aftermath of conflict, the need to stabilize the Rule of Law engenders broad consensus. Establishing a legitimate legal framework and strengthening institutions capable of delivering just results are considered primary steps in rebuilding societies destabilized or destroyed by conflict.

Building upon existing academic theory, complying with applicable international law and drawing from concrete field experiences in Rule of Law reform over the past seven decades, this Article proposes a next stage in post-conflict reconstruction processes through the use of a “toolkit approach” that benefits from a Comparative Law methodology. Following an initial mapping process identifying root causes of conflict, a problem-solving strategy is undertaken, in which disparate aspects of legal systems are disaggregated, examined for their role in creating or resolving conflict, and reconstructed. The proposed model is not limited by traditional boundaries of legal system theory but instead seeks to address specific legal deficits that contribute to conflict and consider component aspects of a variety of legal systems as solutions. Altogether it intends to avoid cut-and-paste strategies, eliminate residual pre-conflict and post-colonial practices, and create fair and equal procedural processes that promote lasting peace and a durable Rule of Law.

Keywords: Post Conflict, Reconstruction, Justice, Comparative Legal Methodology, Legal System, Reform, Rule of Law, Problem Solving

Suggested Citation

Warren, Christie S., Toolkit or Tinderbox? When Legal Systems Interface Conflict (August 15, 2019). Cornell International Law Journal Vol.53 No.2 (Summer 2020), Available at SSRN: or

Christie S. Warren (Contact Author)

William and Mary Law School ( email )

PO Box 8795
William and Mary Law School
Williamsburg, VA 23187
United States

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