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Previous efforts at legal development have focused almost exclusively on state legal systems, many of which have shown little improvement over time. Recently, organizations engaged in legal development activities have begun to pay greater attention to the implications of local, informal, indigenous, religious and village courts or tribunals, which often are more efficacious than state legal institutions, especially in rural communities.
Legal pluralism is the term applied to these situations because these institutions exist alongside official state legal systems, usually in a complex or uncertain relationship.
Although academics, especially legal anthropologists and sociologists, have discussed legal pluralism for decades, their work has not been consulted in the development context. This book brings together, in a single volume, contributions from academics and practitioners to explore the implications of legal pluralism for legal development.