Legal Pluralism in Action : Dispute Resolution and the Kurdish Peace Committee book cover
1st Edition

Legal Pluralism in Action
Dispute Resolution and the Kurdish Peace Committee

ISBN 9781138279827
Published November 17, 2016 by Routledge
222 Pages

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Book Description

This groundbreaking book contributes to, and refocuses, public debates about the incorporation of plural approaches into the English legal system. The book specifically advances the recent, largely theoretical, discussions of Sharia legal practice by examining a secular method of dispute resolution as practised by the Kurdish Peace Committee in London. Following migration to the West, many Kurds still adhere to traditional values and norms. Building on these, they have adapted their customary legal practices to create unofficial legal courts and other forms of legal hybridisation. These practical solutions to the challenges of a pluralistic life are seen by Kurdish communities in the UK as applicable not only to British and transnational daily life, but also as a training ground for institutions in a possible future Kurdish state. The study provides a substantive evidence base using extensive ethnographic data about the workings of the Kurdish Peace Committee, examining detailed case studies in the context of the customs and practices of the Kurdish community. Based on an ethnographic and interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to policy makers, socio-legal professionals, students and scholars of legal anthropology, ethnic minority law, transnationalism, diaspora, Kurdish, Turkish and Middle Eastern studies.



Dr Latif Tas is a Legal Researcher in the Law Faculty, SOAS, University of London. Previously an investigative journalist for a daily newspaper in Turkey, he completed a Masters in Law in 2009 and a PhD in Law in 2012, both at Queen Mary, University of London. Tas was awarded a prestigious postdoctoral Rechtskulturen Fellowship at the Faculty of Law, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany to examine Turkish, Kurdish and other Muslim communities’ perceptions of and relationship towards the state. His research interests include: legal pluralism and dispute resolution; legal anthropology; law and society, diaspora identity and transnationalism; Kurdish, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Ottoman studies, and the philosophy of law.


'Dr Tas’ path-breaking empirical study of dispute processing in Britain’s Kurdish community underpins his superb book. Using case studies, ethnographic observation and rich interview material, and setting everything in historical and cultural context, he illustrates how legal pluralism can be an everyday reality for ethnic minority groups, and why state law so often does not help to solve their problems. This is essential reading for anyone interested in problems of regulating multicultural societies today.' Roger Cotterrell, Queen Mary, University of London, UK 'This insightful study illustrates the beneficial role of community cohesion, based on non-state law, in the midst of London. The rich and unique experience of the Kurdish Peace Committee, without sliding into religious dogmatism or patriarchal authoritarianism, proves the strength of living law today, engaging people’s power to settle disputes in the shadow of the state.' Werner Menski, SOAS, University of London, UK 'A ground breaking ethnographic study that provides a unique perspective into alternative dispute resolution processes and mechanisms among Kurds in the diaspora. Many have written on the history and political aspirations of Kurdish people in the past, but this is the very first study in the English language that not only challenges prevailing ways of thinking about the emergence of ethno-nationalist subjectivities and demands, particularly those dealing with the Kurdish identity, but also introduces a whole new set of methodological tools, a new epistemology and a refreshing socio-legal perspective that have been long wanting in the field of Kurdish Studies.' Yüksel Sezgin, Syracuse University, USA 'This timely book is an important contribution and offers a rare insight into the unique and hybrid system with which the diasporic Kurdish community in London deals with conflict resolution.' Welat Zeydanlioglu, Kurdish Studies Network, Sweden ’...a unique and timely contribution to