Accepted paper:

"Mutual Recognition of Cultural Diversity: Equality and Legal Pluralism in the United Kingdom"

Authors:

Charlotte Skeet (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores James Tully’s ideal constitutional convention of ‘mutual recognition of cultural diversity’ from the perspective of claims for both gender equality and claims for the recognition of ethnic or religious cultural difference and considers whether and to what extent this requires a commitment to legal pluralism.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores James Tully's ideal constitutional convention of 'mutual recognition of cultural diversity' and considers whether and to what extent it requires a commitment to legal pluralism. The paper asks whether claims to gender equality (which can be viewed as claim for cultural recognition) and claims for the recognition of ethnic or religious cultural legal norms must necessarily conflict as the existing controversies around legal pluralism suggests. Recent popular debates in the UK and Canada on Muslim Arbitration Tribunals and Sharia Councils have presented cultural diversity, gender equality and legal pluralism as incompatible. This paper first analyses the assumptions which have informed these debates and argues rather that legal pluralism can facilitate the compatibility of these constitutional principles. Consideration is then given to the extent to which 'other' law is 'recognized' in the United Kingdom and to whether the modes and sites of recognition accord with the constitutional norms of 'mutual recognition' as an ideal for contemporary democracies. As a case study the paper presents the author's current empirical research which analyses the engagement and non-engagement by successive governments and NGO's with the UK Muslim Arbitration Tribunal's initiative against forced marriage

panel G38
Contesting universality and particularity in legal and cultural pluralism: an interdisciplinary approach (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)