About us & our Objectives
The Commission on Legal Pluralism furthers knowledge and understanding of legal pluralism, with a focus upon theoretical and practical problems resulting from the interaction of different types of law, such as state law, international and transnational law, religious law, and customary law. It provides a meeting ground for the concerns of social and legal sciences in the study of law in society and the resulting power relations, and in the resolution of social problems. The CLP was established in 1978 by the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), and is affiliated with the International Association of Legal Science (IALS). Among its main activities are the organization of international symposia; the initiation and encouragement of Regional Working Groups in different parts of the world; and the organization and delivery of courses and summer schools on legal pluralism.
The Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism -as it was originally called- was established in 1978 by the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), and affiliated with the International Association of Legal Science (IALS), on the initiative of professor G. van den Steenhoven, of the Institute of Folk Law, Nijmegen University, the Netherlands.
By September 2006 more than 350 lawyers, anthropologists and other social scientists, representing all regions of the world and concerned with legal pluralism in both theory and practice, were participants in the activities of the Commission. The growth of the Commission reflects a growing awareness of the contemporary existence of legal plurality, not only in countries with indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, but also in the industrialised societies as such. The Commission's primary purpose, according to its Constitution, is "to further knowledge and understanding of folk law and legal pluralism, with a focus upon theoretical and practical problems resulting from the interaction of folk law and state law". Its activities include, where appropriate, "assisting in making sympathetic and constructive contributions to the solution of problems connected with the interaction of folk law and state law, and thus to the future of indigenous, ethnic and social groups, governed by folk law, in the modern world".
The Commission's four major current activities are: the issue of the Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (JLP- thrice every year); the organisation of international symposia; the initiation and encouragement of Regional Working Groups in different parts of the world; and the organization and delivery of courses and summer schools in legal pluralism.
The Commission's first scientific symposium was held in Bellagio, Italy, in 1981 on the theme "State Institutions and their Use of Folk Law". The second, on "The Actual and Legal Position of Ethnic and Cultural Minorities", took place in Vancouver, in 1983. Two symposia were held in 1986: in Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany, on "Formal and Informal Social Security", and in Sydney, on "Folk Law and Indigenous Rights - A Comparative Perspective". Since 1986, a long series of symposia were held in Zagreb (Yugoslavia, 1988), in Ottawa (Canada, 1990), in Amsterdam (Netherlands, 1991), in Wellington (New Zealand, 1992), Mexico City, (Mexico, 1993), Accra (Ghana, 1995), Moscow (Russia, 1997), Williamsburg (U.S.A. 1998), Arica (Chile, 2000), and Chiang Mai (Thailand, 2002). New Brunswick (Canada, 2004), Jakarta (Indonesia, 2006) and Zurich (Switzerland, 2009). The most recent congress took place in Cape Town, South Africa in 2011.
Membership is open to anyone with a serious and substantial scholarly or practical commitment to or involvement in the field of legal pluralism. Those interested in joining are invited to register as a member at Groupspaces at http://groupspaces.com/CLP/join/ or contact the Executive Secretary Dr. Giselle Corradi: Giselle.Corradi@Ugent.be