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Article

Access_open Harmony, Law and Criminal Reconciliation in China: A Historical Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Criminal reconciliation, Confucianism, decentralisation, centralisation
Authors Wei Pei
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2012, China revised its Criminal Procedure Law (2012 CPL). One of the major changes is its official approval of the use of victim-offender reconciliation, or ‘criminal reconciliation’ in certain public prosecution cases. This change, on the one hand, echoes the Confucian doctrine that favours harmonious inter-personal relationships and mediation, while, on the other hand, it deviates from the direction of legal reforms dating from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Questions have emerged concerning not only the cause of this change in legal norms but also the proper position of criminal reconciliation in the current criminal justice system in China. The answers to these questions largely rely on understanding the role of traditional informal dispute resolution as well as its interaction with legal norms. Criminal reconciliation in ancient China functioned as a means to centralise imperial power by decentralizing decentralising its administration. Abolishing or enabling such a mechanism in law is merely a small part of the government’s strategy to react to political or social crises and to maintain social stability. However, its actual effect depends on the vitality of Confucianism, which in turn relies on the economic foundation and corresponding structure of society.


Wei Pei
Wei Pei, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Beihang School of Law in the Beihang University.
Article

Access_open How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, native title, reconciliation, indigenous people of Australia, Aboriginal art
Authors Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article How Law Manifests Itself in Australian Aboriginal Art will discuss two events at the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht from the perspective of a meeting between two artistic and legal cultures. The first event, on the art and law of the Spinifex people, will prove to be of a private law nature, whilst the second event, on the art and law of the Wik People, will show characteristics of international public law. This legal anthropological contribution may frustrate a pluralistic perspective with regard to the coexistence of Western law and Aboriginal law on the one hand and of Utrecht's Modern Art Museum and the presented Aboriginal Art on the other. It will show instead the self-evidence of art and law presented and their intertwined connection for the Aboriginal or indigenous peoples of Australia.


Dr. Agnes T.M. Dr. Schreiner
Agnes T.M. Schreiner studied Law and is Lecturer on several themes of the General Jurisprudence at the Law Faculty, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Within the Masterprogram European Private law she teaches the course Anthropology of European Private Law. She received her Ph.D. in 1990. She has specialized in a series of subjects: Law & Media, Law & Arts, Law & Rituals, Law & Culture, Law & Semiotics and Law & Social Sciences.
Article

Access_open Imagining the Rule of Law in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Liberal Society and the Dialectic of the Clan

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords clan, rule of law, Albert Venn Dicey, Walter Scott, legal memory
Authors Dr. Mark S. Weiner
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this essay, I provide a historical and theoretical framework for understanding the imaginative relation between the liberal rule of law and the kin-based form of socio-legal organization I call ‘the rule of the clan’ – a classic example of law created ‘from below’. Specifically, I believe that a culturalist disciplinary perspective reveals that the modern liberal state and its more centralized rule of law always stand in an ironic, dialectical relation to the rule of the clan as a legal form. Liberal society, that is, nurtures itself through an anti-liberal utopian imaginary. This article provides an intellectual history backdrop for theorizing that dialectical relationship by examining two contrasting ways in which nineteenth-cen‍tu‍ry British intellectuals imagined the rule of law. Following the work of Charles Taylor and, more specifically in the legal field, Paul Kahn, my goal is to depict a social imaginary of modern liberalism that has been neglected within contemporary liberal theory – and, in doing so, pro‍vi‍de a way to appreciate the cultural foundations of liberal legality. The article considers the stories that nineteenth-century British intellectuals told about the relation between the rule of law and the rule of the clan as a way to think about the rule of law today. It thus tacks between three different shores: the world of legal pluralism (the rule of the clan), the world of nineteenth-cen‍tu‍ry British analysis of the rule of the clan and the contemporary relation between culture and modern liberal society.


Dr. Mark S. Weiner
Mark S. Weiner is author of Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), recipient of the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, and Americans without Law: The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship (New York: New York University Press, 2006), winner of the President’s Book Award of the Social Science History Association. He received an A.B. in American Studies from Stanford University; a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University; and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He blogs at Worlds of Law (www.worldsoflaw.com).
Article

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

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, rule of law promotion, legal reform, customary law, non-state legal systems, donor policy
Authors Dr.mr Ronald Janse
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.

Wibo van Rossum

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