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 findings from this work are instructive in understanding post-conflict community reconstruction challenges in other settings in sub-Saharan Africa where customary law applies, such as northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The NCHR offers itself for the purposes of the codification of customary law, which will also relate to different aspects of day-to-day life of the Kalash people,' Mr Chohan said.
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.
He said their father had written the will fully aware of the provisions of the Kipsigis customary law which grants inheritance to sons.
This paper aims at discussing how the resurgence of the customary law (Kanun) and self-justice mainly from the failure of the Albanian state and lack of law enforcement during the years of transition to market economy negatively impacted the life of children and young adults who are pushed to cope with the old norms such as blood feud by physically transferring its negative consequences in other parts of the country or abroad through forced migration.
The meeting that aimed at putting boundaries between conventional and customary laws was another way of promoting peace building and peaceful co-existence among the various communities in the entire Jonglei state.
This description of customary law is in part a fiction, an ideal type, not an accurate representation of scholarship on native customary land rights.
Justice Carpio, during interpellation of Luna, said that international customary law may be followed if it does not violate the provision of the Philippine Constitution.
POLYGAMY There is an emergence of polygamous marriages in Namibian communities under customary law.
By legal pluralism, Grenfell means the traditional customary law of community institutions and leaders that operates alongside of state legal structures and prevents the state from having a monopoly on law.
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.
Part III then provides examples of practice in the area of jus cogens norms, customary law, and treaty law where it appears moral obligation is driving the understanding of law among human rights actors.