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This collection of works-previously published in a variety of journals and books-explores 'the basic architecture' of law in India. It is mainly focused on modern and contemporary India but also looks at the historical roots and evolution of contemporary law and society in India. The collection has a particular focus on identifying and accounting for the distinctive character of litigation in India, including its previously narrow subject matter and also its frequently protracted quality. A major theme is the way in which the legal system introduced into India by the British has co-existed with patterns of authority and dispute settlement that have their origins outside the state.
The book is essentially about legal change, both within the official legal system and within 'society'. So there is discussion on the emergence over the last twenty years of corporate law firms along the lines of the firms of New York, and also the persistence and reinvention of novel forms of dispute settlement among groups as diverse as the diamond traders of Mumbai and the dhobis or washer folk of rural Rajasthan. The changing character of authority in rural India is a major theme of the collection.