International Conference of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, in collaboration with the University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law and Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law
15-17 July 2020 | Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
This conference will examine the critical role normative orders play across the globe, for example in the regulation of individual, familial and property relations, the promotion of sustainable economic development, and the countering of human rights abuses. The diverse and multiple domains in which plural legal systems operate raise crucial questions about the basis upon which law is founded. The ways in which law’s authority and legitimacy are constructed in ordering society cannot be taken for granted but must be subject to scrutiny. The ‘down-under’ in this year’s conference theme refers not only to the fact that the conference is taking place in Queensland, Australia, but it also refers to the need to move beyond a state-centered dominant legal discourse.
One of the purposes of the conference is to inquire into the role and place of pluralism outside of the State. How do non-State laws operate within their own sphere, and how does this affect their impact and the space available for them? And how do States deal with laws operating outside its realm and without its specific endorsement: what have the courts, parliaments and other agencies to say about this? Moving beyond a state-centered legal perspective is especially important in a postcolonial context where plural legal systems inherited from the colonial era operate today. The conference aims to inquire into the ways in which such legal orders are dealing with this heritage. This involves not only the recognition of customary, traditional, religious or indigenous law. It also includes repositioning the plural normative system of states in relation to the legal orders of the former metropoles. And it comprises new, neo-colonial attempts by various actors to impose law on these post-colonial legal orders.