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 ?
This article examines the intergenerational nature of land conflicts in northern Uganda, focusing on the interplay of customary law, return migration and the development of a market in land.
Customary law and personal law are problematic because of the potential to be discriminatory and are in conflict with human rights norms, especially norms of gender equality.
The chief, he said, reviewed their status as custodians of traditional and customary laws
Achieving the promises of modernity and the improvement of their livelihoods depends, in part, on distancing themselves from an indigenous land ethic and customary laws that mark them as backwards.
Butuan City - Technical assistance to the conflict transformation seminar on alternative dispute resolution, environmental laws and customary laws will be extended by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
According to the Customary Laws of War ( Ius in bello) Israel must display 'distinction' and 'proportionality' in the prosecution of its military campaign.
In 2011, Ndulo published "African Customary Law, Customs, and Women's Rights" in the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, which examined how traditional, customary laws in many African countries were contributing to the continued oppression and abuse of women and girls.
Thus, chieftaincy is the custodian of the customary values and norms of the nation; it is customary laws that regulate civil behavior in traditional governance with judicial, legislative and executive powers.
From customary laws of the sea to efforts to monitor and regulate the ocean's riches and manage its bounty, this traces the U.
Earlier, former lover Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo was seeking to stop the marriage, and claimed that she was still married to him under customary laws.
Customary laws not observed or not understood by states to be
977, 997 (2011) (discussing Professor Francis Lieber's codification of the customary laws of war in the Lieber Code, one of the most well-known private codification efforts).