Customary Law and Legal Pluralism
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Customary Law and Legal Pluralism book
As described brieﬂy in Section 2, the customary and formal legal systems in Sudan have coexisted and interacted for a long time. The British introduced a system of legal pluralism, in which customary law, Islamic law, and English common law each had a statutorily prescribed role. This system preserved the application of customary law among those living in traditional settings, while undermining it by limiting its jurisdiction and subjecting it to principles of “justice, morals and order,” inevitably deﬁned by the values of outsiders. That system was kept more or less intact until the Islamization movement in the 1980s. During the 1983-2005 war, in areas controlled by the Government of Sudan, Islamization had the eﬀect of further relegating customary law to an inferior status, while rendering the role of native courts ambiguous. In areas controlled by the SPLA, the British system remained in place, yet customary law was deeply aﬀected by the war and social change, as will be explored in the next section.