chapter  1
28 Pages

The interactions of State and non-state legal norms

BySeth Tweneboah

This chapter offers crucial insights into the sources of legal theory and practice in contemporary Ghana. It explores the historical context within which the various legal norms of Ghana have developed. Using the office of the traditional political leaders as a reference point, the chapter looks at how British law, Christian norms and the postcolonial legal system operated alongside traditional customary norms. This situation, I show, became a competing source of legal power and tension. The chapter then interrogates how this situation led to diverse forms of legal fora as well as different notions of and appeal to law in society. Specifically, the chapter documents how the arrival of these imported systems and agents posed a threat to the indigenous political system. The brief historical overview of the different sources of law discussed in this chapter prepares the ground for understanding the larger discussion in this work. Crucially, it demonstrates how the introduction of imported religious, legal and political systems threatened traditional conceptions of the inseparability of the spiritual and the material world.