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Initiative on legal pluralism and the coexistence of legitimacies

Law is one element used to structure and regulate the societies of which it is a product. Law is an instrument in social, political and economic organisation, and as such it also has an impact on development. To fulfil their role, norms—on which law is based—should reflect the societies that produce them, i.e., those subject to norms should recognise, accept and submit to them spontaneously. In Africa, however, many communities have their own systems for producing norms. These systems may compete or even conflict with positive law (produced almost exclusively by State authorities) because the judicial models implemented are often imported from outside the societies. The result is a chipping away of the legitimacy and efficiency of States’ judicial systems. Instead of regulating societies harmoniously, law becomes a source of conflict and a barrier to individual and collective development because it is unsuitable and inaccessible. A move to unify norms and their sources has not eliminated the tendency to refer to traditional law. Whether acknowledged or not, judicial pluralism is a reality that must be taken into account in rebuilding governance, from the local to the worldwide level. This initiative group is part of a quest for the recognition of judicial pluralism in our legal systems: such recognition would enhance legal systems’ legitimacy and efficiency and allow them to meet the needs of modern societies capable of responding to the challenges of their time and making their way in a global world. The group’s starting point is the need for knowledge about the various factors involved in the production of law in Africa, their real impact and how to ensure their harmonious coexistence. coexistence of legitimacies

View the document Coexistence of legitimacies, a transversal initiative: from institutional inclusiveness to judicial pluralism

A project initiative Governance, pluralism and conflict resolution

Production of the initiative: Family affairsDecentralisation and institutional pluralismLand issuesCoexistence of several legal systems

Family affairs

2 documents

12 Experiences sheet

Decentralisation and institutional pluralism

5 documents

6 reviews

33 Experiences sheet

Land issues

7 documents

One review

31 Experiences sheet

Coexistence of several legal systems

8 documents

3 reviews

39 Experiences sheet