Whose Custom, Whose Law, Whose Land?

Posted on September 11th, by Marian Grove in LIDS LIVE. No Comments

Colonial and apartheid policies in South Africa have had lasting – and complex – impact on indigenous customary law, and with it, on indigent people’s access to land.

“Customary law” is a general term referring to the indigenous or local customs and traditions (i.e. laws) of peoples that live communally. Under colonial rule in South Africa, customary law was given a third class status beneath western-imported British common law and Roman-Dutch civil law. Colonial rulers superficially recognized native customs, but simultaneously supplanted them with western legal concepts such as the ownership of property by a single homestead through a deed or other written entitlement. As a general rule, the colonial government acknowledged indigenous leadership structures only to the extent that it benefitted its system of indirect rule. Hence, the government drew (often with little cultural understanding) firm ethnic and geographic boundaries around tribes, instating chiefs they knew to be subservient to colonial control, and declaring that tribe members could obtain land or other resources only through these tribes and chiefs. Apartheid deepened these distortions of traditional leadership and custom, locking native people within the physical and cultural bounds of tribes and chiefs whose power had been enhanced by colonial impact.

Following the … Read More »

Announcing the Release of LIDS Global Volume I!

Posted on September 9th, by Chris Crawford and Liz Loftus in LIDS LIVE. No Comments

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LIDS is proud to announce the publication of Volume I of LIDS Global’s international research efforts for the 2013-2014 academic year. Check out the full text of this exciting, collaborative research project on the LIDS Global page and stay tuned for information about how to get involved in 2014-2015!

Last year, LIDS Global embarked on an ambitious, pilot initiative to facilitate collaborations with development-focused student groups outside of the United States. Groups from law schools in Singapore, Tanzania, India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka formed the inaugural LIDS Global research teams and Volume I presents a compilation of outstanding research from the first four schools. The upcoming publication of Sri Lanka’s innovative contribution will mark the beginning of work on Volume II.

The topic of Volume I, corruption, is a follow-up to a 2012-2013 LIDS white paper that was published in the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Magazine, “Access to Remedies for Transnational Public Bribery.” The white paper proposed that victims of corruption in developing countries should receive compensation for their injuries through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.S. anti-corruption statute.

While the main argument of the paper explored the need for more robust transnational compensation, the paper left significant unanswered questions related to … Read More »

Applications Open: LIDS Fall 2014 Project Leaders

Posted on September 7th, by Ameya Naik in LIDS LIVE. No Comments

Apply now to lead / participate in LIDS-Orrick projects with partner organizations! The deadline for team leader applications is September 12.

The list of projects for Fall 2014 is:

- The Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), Examining and modifying regulatory frameworks to accommodate an expanding legal aid sector
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Developing analytical methods for negotiation research in humanitarian diplomacy
- morethanshelters, implementing partner of UNHCR, Creating frameworks to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to develop Al Za’atari Camp (Jordan)
- Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), Examining state authority over education in post-conflict states
- South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), Researching the issuance of financial instruments in Samoa and the US for a development corporation
- Transparency International – Kenya, Mapping and analyzing global anti-corruption policies and enforcement in the humanitarian aid sector
- World Resources Institute (WRI), Assessing the security of collective land rights for an online global mapping platform
- LIDS Global White Paper, Exploring the development of a legal toolkit to reduce bribery in “demand-side” countries
 

To work with LIDS and our partners on these pressing development, post-conflict and humanitarian issues, please submit applications through these links: Apply to lead projects by September 12 2014 at 11:59PM and apply to work on projects by September 23 2014 at 11:59PM.

To learn more about the LIDS fall … Read More »

Advocating data-driven Judicial Reform in India

Posted on September 2nd, by Ameya Naik in LIDS LIVE. No Comments

I have worked this summer with The Takshashila Institution, a public policy think-tank in India. Part of my work included co-authoring a policy brief on judicial reforms. The brief is under review for publication, but the subject has become very topical: the Supreme Court recently turned down the idea of operating “Fast Track Courts” to resolve cases against elected Parliamentarians against whom criminal cases are pending, preferring instead to place the burden on the Executive to not elevate such persons to important Ministerial assignments.

Fast Track Courts were initiated, originally, as an experimental solution to the considerable (and growing) backlog of unresolved cases pending before all levels of the judiciary in India. Constituted with funding from the central government, they have proved a qualified success, demonstrating a disposal rate considerably higher than ordinary courts at the same level. Since they are only a procedural innovation, working with the same personnel and no new facts on record, this has prompted concerns that such cases are at higher risk for wrongful conviction and miscarriage of justice. Nowhere is this criticism more pronounced than in the resort to Fast Track Courts for tackling crimes against women.

That move, in turn, is part of a broader set of … Read More »

The Freedom of Information, Development, and LIDS Global’s 2014-2015 Research Project

Posted on August 7th, by Chris Crawford in LIDS LIVE. No Comments

Transparency is a foundational element of development—without it, the citizens of emerging economies cannot participate in keeping their governments and markets fair and accountable. Of course, governments and market participants are also entitled to a measure of privacy. The trick is in finding the balance, both in substantive law and in fact. In 2014-2015, LIDS Global is going to organize an international research effort to explore this balance.

LIDS Global, as was noted in this blog just a few weeks ago, is this organization’s effort to build partnerships with like-minded student groups all around the world. Our 2013-2014 pilot project was highly successful; LIDS Global coordinated teams from around the world as they explored the link between corruption and development. The finished work will be published later this month.

Building on this success, our 2014-2015 research will focus on the Freedom of Information and its role in development; specifically, how can citizens all around the world use Freedom of Information laws to deter corruption in government officials? In fact, our idea to explore this topic is partly a result of the 2013-2014 research: students from the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka identified … Read More »