Customary Law

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Customary Law


a body of unwritten norms, called customs (rules of conduct), that have arisen spontaneously and have been sanctioned by the state. A legal system incorporates only those customs that function as legal norms—that is, those that reflect the interests and will of the economically and politically dominant class—and that the state adapts to specific political and economic conditions. Among historical law codes in which customs occupied an important place were the Code of Hammurabi, the Twelve Commandments, the Salic Law, and the Russkaia Pravda. In such Western European countries as France, customary law was important throughout the feudal period down to the formation of centralized absolute monarchies.

The development of bourgeois social relations and the expansion of production and commodity exchange required firm guarantees of the stability of these relations—a system of legal norms established by the state. In contemporary capitalist countries customary law is not of great importance, with the exception of court practice, where the norms of customary law are used to decide cases in accordance with established customs. Customary law plays a somewhat more important part in international relations, for example, in trade.

Soviet law recognizes customary law in instances where legal codes do not cover a particular social relationship. For example, custom may supplement the basic conditions of a contract, and it is used in resolving disputes over the division of property in a kolkhoz household. The Merchant Shipping Code of the USSR (arts. 134, 135, 149, and 151) states that agreements concerning such matters as the time allowed for loading operations and the payment due for delay after a ship has been loaded (demurrage) are concluded in conformity with the customs prevailing in the given port.


References in periodicals archive ?
The UN ruling has buoyed the hopes of women worldwide that their countries will be forced to address the injustices that may be found in some customary law and where bias hinders implementation of progressive legislation.
Thus, South Africa has permitted customary law to fill the demand for a mechanism to help resolve disputes rapidly and cheaply.
28) Traditional customary law exists where there is demonstration of uniform, extensive, and widespread state practice and evidence of a sense of legal obligation (opinio juris).
2) In The Future of African Customary Law, Gordon Woodman provides a working definition of customary law as "a normative order observed by a population, having been formed by regular social behavior and the development of an accompanying sense of obligation" (10).
The Chieftaincy Act, 2008 Act 759, defines a chief as "a person who hailing from appropriate family and lineage, has been validly nominated, elected or selected and enstooled, enskinned or installed as a chief or queen mother in accordance with the relevant customary law and usage".
Keywords: gender equality, women's status, international women's rights frameworks, sustainable development goals, national gender mechanisms, funding for women's rights, customary law, development aid, South Africa, Bangladesh
Key features of this work are: national environmental law and policy; international environmental law, also focusing on environmental law within the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC); environmental management; water and land law; conservation of biodiversity; mining and energy law, including renewable energy law; customary law, common law and criminal law aspects of environmental law; intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge; climate change; environmental justice and human rights; international trade, sustainable development and the environment; and environmental journalism.
Condemn Jordan's violation of the customary law prohibition againstnon-refoulment; and 6.
These include the use of human rights education, human rights advocacy on gender issues, legislative measures, and developing customary law to ensure compatibility with the South African Constitution.
Customary law "plays into the hands of foreign states that, over time, want to bend customary law to restrict movement on the oceans," which the Islamic Republic has been doing for years.
that blockade law continues to be binding customary law.