Accepted paper:

The effect of procedures and practices in dispute settlement on women in Namibia


Eline Peters (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the different procedures and practices in customary dispute settlement in Namibia and analyses the effect of those procedures on women and their perceived success in (participating in) customary dispute settlement.

Paper long abstract:

While much investigation has been done on the content of customary law and its effects on women, less attention has been devoted to the procedures and practices within customary dispute settlement. Procedures and practices can include, for example: time constraints on speaking; if women are allowed to represent themselves; if written accounts are made during trial and if women can/do speak during trial. While some research shows that women benefit from the flexibility of procedures in customary law, other authors maintain that the fixed and transparent procedures in state law provide more chances for the (successful) participation of women in dispute settlement. Although procedures and practices are not the determining factor for the (successful) participation of women, since historical patterns and cultural expectations are often decisive, they can play an important role in increasing or decreasing the (successful) participation of women in customary dispute settlement. This paper discusses the perceptions of women as well as judges and chiefs on the effect of procedures and practices in customary dispute settlement on the (successful) participation of women.

panel G43
New topics in the field of legal pluralism (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)