Veronica L. Taylor
This chapter addresses international law in Afghanistan. States where the ‘post-conflict’ period is, in fact, a series of continuing sub-national conflicts, are often coded as ‘failed’ or ‘fragile’ and are also criticized as failing in their embrace of international law. In the case of Afghanistan, such ‘discourses of deficiency’ also erase some important legal history. For most of its history, Afghanistan has been contingent as a Westphalian state. This means that it has also had a fluid relationship with the institutions and norms of international law, including the normative discourse and practice of the international rule of law. Although Afghanistan has been a member of the United Nations since 1946, and thus a contributor to international law in the twentieth century, it is seen more as a subject of international law. After considering these issues, the chapter then highlights the complexity of Afghan’s location within, as well as its relationship with, international law, international legal institutions, and international legal norms.
This article examines the historical development and social and intellectual functioning of Islamic law in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. In particular, it considers the progressive stabilization and institutionalization of the four classical Sunni madhhabs (schools of law) and the corresponding developments in Imami Shi‘ism; developments in legal theory (usul al-fiqh); and the practical administration of the law. It also discusses the various forms of ijtihad and taqlid that could generate new legal rulings, along with the textual forms and real-world interactions within which legal judgments were sought and expressed. Finally, it looks at the fatwa, which consists of a legal opinion issued in response to an inquiry (istifta’).
This article discusses academic work in relation to appellate courts. It concentrates on characterizing and explaining judicial decision-making and winning on an appeal. Furthermore, it raises questions about the nature and coverage of empirical legal research on appellate courts, and discusses general methodological questions. It also looks at rival approaches to describing what judges do in making decisions, and what motivational assumptions are most commonly made and finally indicates the broad outlines of how the field should develop methodologically in the future. Empirical legal research suffers from the main weakness of the entire body of empirical research applied to appellate courts. This article concludes by mentioning that a shift of focus is needed to other aspects of law. To be forced into a choice, a judge must feel that what he regards as morally correct would be inconsistent with existing law.
This chapter studies international law in Australia. As a former British colony, Australia received a Western and specifically British tradition of international law, which was initially tied to imperial interests and even the possession of its own colonies in the Pacific. While its international legal personality matured in the 1920s and 1930s, it was only after the Second World War that Australia came to exercise a genuinely independent approach to international law. A hallmark of Australian policy and practice has been a broadly bipartisan political commitment to international law and institutions and to multilateralism, albeit affected by its close alliance with the United States. As a self-described ‘middle power’, Australia views the international legal order as giving it a voice on the international plane, securing its territorial and economic interests, and reflecting the values of the Australian community. Accordingly, Australia participates actively in the various specialized branches of international law and their associated governance mechanisms and dispute resolution procedures, although it occasionally strays from full compliance with its obligations.
This chapter considers both the foundations for, and the content of, the High Court's authority in Australia. It focuses principally on the current authority of the High Court, but with reference to some aspects of its history. The chapter first explains the Court's constitutional status as Australia's apex court, performing the role of both constitutional court and ultimate appellate court for both federal and State matters. It next outlines the institutional features of the Court that underpin its authority, in particular its composition and independence. The chapter then examines the Court's authority to enforce constitutional limits through judicial review of legislative action. Lastly, the chapter considers the Court's authority to review executive action and the constitutional foundation for that role.
Kamal Hossain and Sharif Bhuiyan
This chapter focuses on international law in Bangladesh. Neither the Constitution of Bangladesh nor any statute contains any specific provision on domestic application of international law rules. However, it is well settled by various judicial decisions that in respect of domestic application of international treaties, Bangladesh is a dualist country. In order to be applied by national courts, it is necessary for the treaty to be incorporated into Bangladesh’s legal system by an act of incorporation. In respect of customary international law, there is no clear judicial decision on whether customary law automatically forms part of Bangladesh law or whether, like treaties, such law is required to be made a part of Bangladesh law by a legislative, judicial, or other measure. It is likely that Bangladesh courts will adhere to the English and common law tradition of treating customary international law as automatically forming part of Bangladesh law as long as there is no inconsistent domestic legal provision.
John V. Orth
This chapter focuses on Sir William Blackstone (1723–1780), the author of the most important book in the history of the common law. The four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769) and the series of lectures Blackstone delivered at Oxford from 1753, changed the way lawyers thought about the law. Blackstone’s Commentaries were read by more people, non-lawyers as well as lawyers, than any other English law book. Their influence is difficult to overstate, and extends into the twenty-first century. Almost as momentous was Blackstone’s influence on legal education. While gradual, the transfer of legal education from the law office and the courts to the university, which Blackstone pioneered, had an enormous impact on legal development, as law professors contributed to the formation of generations of lawyers and themselves came to play a significant role in legal development.
Tahirih V. Lee
This chapter begins with a brief overview of the foundations of the field of Chinese legal history. It then delves into questions of methodology and approach. Three such questions face the field now and in the near future. First, historians, law scholars, and anthropologists with their different training and bases of knowledge, ask different questions about law. Second, comparative law inextricably intertwines with Chinese legal history, and its use and abuse needs to be examined and its lessons be better learned. Third, given the sophistication for centuries of Chinese rulers’ efforts to propagate official lines about the law, it has been exceedingly difficult for scholars to pierce through it to see what was actually happening on the ground. Improvement in this will help us understand how, and the extent to which, substantive law reached the population during different periods of China’s history.
This chapter studies international law in Cambodia. Cambodia’s evolving relationship with public international law must be understood in the context of the nation’s unique history and circumstances, which are marked by colonization, conflict, Vietnamese occupation, territorial administration, civil war, transitional justice, and state-building. Cambodia’s legal system has undergone significant changes from the early days of unwritten customary laws, to the imposition of French civil law, and thereafter the ‘legal vacuum’ created by the ultra-Marxist Khmer Rouge regime that left Cambodia in a state of war and international isolation until the 1980s. The chapter then outlines key aspects of international law in and apropos Cambodia that illustrate Cambodia’s reception of public international law, and its position as an active participant in the international legal system. Cambodia has certainly taken strides in its participation in dispute resolution on the international plane. However, its tryst with international law is a fractious one.
This chapter describes the experiences of five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—with international law over the past three decades, identifying some of the distinctive features of Central Asian states’ approaches towards international law. The commonalities in the stance of Central Asian states on matters of international law are determined by the context of their emergence as sovereign states at the end of the Cold War, their common history as former Soviet republics, their belonging to the Eurasian group of continental legal systems, and their common status as landlocked developing states. At the same time, each Central Asian state has its own specifics, with differences in their foreign policy priorities, levels of economic development, and resource endowment. The chapter then reviews the participation of Central Asian states in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly their experiences with the CIS Economic Court.
This chapter discusses international law in China. Although the teaching, research, and dissemination of international law have become part of China’s steady efforts to achieve its aspirations for national rejuvenation, early Chinese experience with international law still remains a key to understanding China’s present attitude towards international law. Indeed, the perennial concern with its status, security, and territorial integrity, as shaped by its historical legacies, still overshadows China’s legal behaviour in the conduct of its foreign relations. Today, with its rise to world great-power status, China is depicted as a stakeholder in the present international system. China has been playing a constructive role in international and regional issues and has made significant contributions to world peace and development. In the inquiry into China’s attitude towards international law, one area which China attempts to draw attention to is the importance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
This chapter examines the uneasy relationship between the Australian Constitution and membership of the Australian polity. Unlike some constitutions, the Australian Constitution contains no mention of ‘citizenship’. Instead, formal membership of the Australian community is determined by reference to the constitutional categories of ‘subjects of the Queen’ and ‘people of the Commonwealth’ and through the legislative definition of citizenship under federal law. These peculiar features of the Australian context reflect what is generally assumed to be the modest role of the Constitution in determining national identity and the fact that Australia was not an independent nation at the time of the Constitution's drafting. Developments in legislation, constitutional jurisprudence, and mooted constitutional amendments all point towards a greater role for the Constitution in determining Australian ‘citizenship’ in the future.
This chapter considers the meaning of the term ‘common law’ and its application in the context of Australian federalism. It discusses some views on common law vis-à-vis the Constitution, as well as the history of the development of common law in Australia. The common law of Australia includes the choice of law rules. The common law choice of law rules select which of the competing State or Territory laws is the lex causae. They apply either directly in the court of the forum, or where federal jurisdiction is exercised, as ‘picked up’ by operation of section 80 of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth). A further significant aspect of the development of the common law of Australia is its illustration of the temporal character of the common law.
T. W. Bennett
Customary law grows out of the social practices which a given jural community has come to accept as obligatory. It is a pervasive normative order, providing the regulatory framework for spheres of human activity as diverse as the family, the neighbourhood, the business of merchant banking, or international diplomacy. This article looks at the indigenous customary laws of sub-Saharan Africa. It deals with the preservation of the law in an oral tradition and how it has been influenced by certain social, economic, and political structures. This focus requires, in turn, that particular attention be paid to factors influencing the production of texts on customary law. Because textual information on the subject is limited, often outdated, and somewhat subjective, readers must be made aware of how changes in the theories of jurisprudence and anthropology have affected ideas and preconceptions.
Jan M. Smits
This article assesses the scholarly state of affairs regarding the influence of comparative law in national systems. In so doing, emphasis is put on private law and constitutional law, as these are the two areas where comparative inspiration is discussed most vigorously. The second and third section distinguishes several types of use of comparative law by national legislatures and courts, providing the background for a critical evaluation of this influence in the subsequent sections. The fourth section discusses the legitimacy question and the question of how to categorize the different uses of foreign law. The fifth section addresses why a legislature or court actually refers to foreign law and is how to explain the different extent to which countries are open to foreign influence. The last section considers the exact influence of comparative law arguments on the legislature’s or court’s reasoning.
This article examines comparative law in Islamic/Middle Eastern legal culture. The first section discusses the comparative framework in Islamic law and civilization. The second section describes the rule of law in the prism of the legal profession. The third section discusses the notions of public and private in issues such as constitutions, contracts, and torts, and family law. A millennium and a half after the Islamic revelation, unrest and violence associated with the Islamic/Middle Eastern world make one wonder, from a comparative perspective, whether West and East are not on a collision course precisely because of their diametrically opposed concepts of law. On the Western side, law is associated with nation-states and their territory; on the Islamic/Middle Eastern side, law is dominated by the personal dimension, defined by an individual’s religious, and often sectarian identity.
Jacques Du Plessis
Legal systems generally are ‘mixed’ in the sense that they have been influenced by a variety of other systems. However, while some legal systems, for a period of time at least, reach a certain level of uniformity, the diversity or ‘mixedness’ of the origins of other systems is more pronounced. This chapter deals with the experiences of the latter systems, and especially with their relevance to the discipline of comparative law. The focus is first on the concept of a mixed legal system, as well as related concepts, such as legal pluralism and hybridity, that have gained prominence in comparative analyses. Thereafter key questions that arise from these analyses are then considered in detail. These questions include how the mixed nature of legal systems is to be dealt with in representations of legal diversity of the world, how mixed legal systems are formed, and what could be learned from their experiences.
The region of Central and Eastern Europe covers many of the European nations east of Germany. The dominant nation of the region is Russia. Between Russia and Germany there are, first, a number of small nations composing the region known as Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia); second, the nations which formed the western part of the Soviet Union; and, third, the states on the Balkan peninsula. This article shows the rich history of comparative law before the installment of communist regimes, such as the era of Stalin, and then discusses comparative law under communism and the role and status of comparative law after the fall of communist rule.
Jeffrey Goldsworthy and Lisa Burton Crawford
This chapter explains how constitutionalism developed and how it currently operates in Australia. It first explains the historical developments whereby Australia combined elements of the British and American models of constitutionalism, which employ legal and political constitutionalism in very different ways. The chapter then describes three main stages in the development of Australian constitutionalism. The first was the establishment in the nineteenth century of colonial Constitutions, which employed a predominantly political form of constitutionalism and, upon federation in 1900, became the Constitutions of the six Australian States. The second was the establishment of the Commonwealth Constitution in 1900, which necessarily blended elements of political and legal constitutionalism. The third consists of more recent innovations by the High Court that have expanded the role of legal constitutionalism. Each development has built on its predecessor, resulting in a distinctive combination of political and legal constitutionalism.
The chapter introduces the Court of Justice of the EU by looking at five key elements defining the institution in a diachronic perspective: the structure of the Union courts located in Luxembourg, looked at vertically (the ECJ, the GC, and the CST) as well as horizontally (division of work within the ECJ and in particular the role of the grand chamber); the type of judicial business the Court of Justice carries out today, in both its quantitative as well as qualitative dimensions; its composition, including the recent changes made by the Treaty of Lisbon to the way in which judges and Advocates General are selected and appointed; the often discussed reasoning style and structure of the judgments; and, finally, the even more frequently discussed and recurring question of the legitimacy of the Court of Justice.