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Article

Access_open A Turn to Legal Pluralism in Rule of Law Promotion?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3/4 2013
Trefwoorden legal pluralism, rule of law promotion, legal reform, customary law, non-state legal systems, donor policy
Auteurs Dr.mr Ronald Janse
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Over the past 25 years, international organizations, NGOs and (mostly Western) states have spent considerable energy and resources on strengthening and reforming legal systems in developing countries. The results of these efforts have generally been disappointing, despite occasional successes. Among donors, one of most popular explanations of this failure in recent years is that rule of law promotion has wrongly focused almost exclusively on strengthening the formal legal system. Donors have therefore decided to 'engage' with informal justice systems. The turn to legal plu‍ra‍lism is to be welcomed for various reasons. But it is also surprising and worrisome. It is surprising because legal pluralism in developing countries was a fact of life before rule of law promotion began. What made donors pursuing legal reform blind to this reality for so long? It is worrisome because it is not self-evident that the factors which have contributed to such cognitive blindness have disappeared overnight. Are donors really ready to refocus their efforts on legal pluralism and 'engage' with informal justice systems? This paper, which is based on a review of the literature on donor engamenet with legal pluralism in so-called conflict affected and fragile states, is about these questions. It argues that 7 factors have been responsible for donor blindness regarding legal pluralism. It questions whether these factors have been addressed.


Dr.mr Ronald Janse
Ronald Janse is Associate Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open At the Crossroads of National and European Union Law. Experiences of National Judges in a Multi-level Legal Order

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3/4 2013
Trefwoorden national judges, legal pluralism, application of EU law, legal consciousness, supremacy and direct effect of EU law
Auteurs Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The notion and theory of legal pluralism have been witnessing an increasing interest on part of scholars. The theory that originates from the legal anthropological studies and is one of the major topical streams in the realm of socio-legal studies slowly but steady started to become a point of departure for other disciplines. Unavoidably it has also gained attention from the scholars in the realm of the law of the European Union. It is the aim of the present article to illustrate the legal reality in which the law of the Union and the national laws coexist and intertwine with each other and, subsequently, to provide some insight on the manner national judges personally construct their own understanding of this complex legal architecture and the problems they come across in that respect. In that sense, the present article not only illustrates the new, pluralistic legal environment that came into being with the founding of the Communities, later the European Union, but also adds another dimension to this by presenting selected, empirical data on how national judges in several Member States of the EU individually perceive, adapt to, experience and make sense of this reality of overlapping and intertwining legal orders. Thus, the principal aim of this article is to illustrate how the pluralistic legal system works in the mind of a national judge and to capture the more day-to-day legal reality by showing how the law works on the ground through the lived experiences of national judges.


Urszula Jaremba Ph.D.
Urszula Jaremba, PhD, assistant professor at the Department of European Union Law, School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I am grateful to the editors of this Special Issue: Prof. Dr. Sanne Taekema and Dr. Wibo van Rossum as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. I am also indebted to Dr. Tobias Nowak for giving me his consent to use the data concerning the Dutch and German judges in this article. This article is mostly based on a doctoral research project that resulted in a doctoral manuscript titled ‘Polish Civil Judges as European Union Law Judges: Knowledge, Experiences and Attitudes’, defended on the 5th of October 2012.

    In this paper, I will firstly illustrate the broader context of the contractualisation of family law by drawing upon the oscillations in family regulation between private and public regulators, in the light of the so-called family law exceptionalism. I consider the contractualisation of family law to be the ordering of the family by families and individuals through the use of legally binding private instruments. I will elaborate upon the substantive and jurisdictional contractualisation of family law in Sections 2 and 3 of this paper respectively. The deliberately 'impressionist' presentation of Section 1-3 leads onto the conclusion which proposes that States benevolently tolerate substantive contractualisation through a lower standard of judicial review, and that, whilst they actively stimulate jurisdictional contractualisation of the content of family relations, the formation and dissolution of family relations still appear to fall within the State's exclusive domain (Section 4).
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    In deze bijdrage situeer ik eerst de 21ste eeuwse contractualisering van het familierecht in de historische pendelbeweging tussen publieke en private regulering van familieleven. Die leidde in de 19de en 20ste eeuw tot de aanneming van een bijzondere, niet-contractuele, aard van het familierecht (sectie 1). Ik beschouw als contractualisering van het familierecht: de regulering van familieleven door de familie en door individuen, door middel van juridisch bindende privaatrechtelijke instrumenten. Ik zal ingaan op de inhoudelijke en jurisdictionele contractualisering van het familierecht in respectievelijk de secties 2 en 3 van deze bijdrage. De bewust 'impressionistische' uiteenzetting in secties 1-3 leidt naar de conclusie dat Staten enerzijds een welwillende houding aannemen ten opzichte van inhoudelijke contractualisering, doordat een lagere norm van rechterlijke toetsing wordt gehanteerd. Anderzijds stimuleren zij actief de jurisdictionele contractualisering van de inhoud van familierelaties. Het aangaan en de beëindiging van familierelaties blijven daarentegen het exclusieve domein van de Staat (sectie 4).


Prof. dr. Frederik Swennen
Frederik Swennen is a senior lecturer at the University of Antwerp and an attorney at the Brussels Bar.
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