Legal pluralism, custom and gender

12 de julho de 2022, 11h30

Sala 4.3, Faculdade de Economia da UC


These two sessions - co-organized by the Doctoral Programme on Sociology of the State, Law and Justice - are part of the seven sessions organized by the International Research Collaborative on Gender in Customary and Indigenous Law and Proceedings that will take place in Portugal in July (Coimbra – July 13th, Lisbon - Global Meeting on Law & Society, July 13th to July 16th).

Presentation of the seven sessions:

Postcolonial societies live with the reality of plural legal systems where customary law (including religious law) commonly co-exists with formal law enacted by the state. Customary law (also known as indigenous law or traditional law) is by nature flexible and fluid, and consists of a wide diversity of mostly unwritten norms practiced among different local communities. Despite initial predictions that it would ‘wither away’, customary law has persisted through colonization to this day. It thus continues to be relevant to the majority of people, particularly in rural areas, as it mediates social relationships, entitlement to resources and participation in decision making. In some countries, an array of customary law norms and institutions have been juridified and thereby undergone certain modification.

The sessions in Coimbra deal with frictions between customary, state law and international human rights principles in several African countries and tensions between Islamic family law and state law in Denmark.