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The Role of Customary Law in Sustainable Development
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  • Page extent: 524 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.94 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 346.044
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Sustainable development--Law and legislation
    • Customary law

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521859257 | ISBN-10: 0521859255)

For many nations, a key challenge is how to achieve sustainable development without a return to centralized planning. Using case studies from Greenland, Hawaii and northern Norway, this 2006 book examines whether 'bottom-up' systems such as customary law can play a critical role in achieving viable systems for managing natural resources. Customary law consists of underlying social norms that may become the acknowledged law of the land. The key to determining whether a custom constitutes customary law is whether the public acts as if the observance of the custom is legally obligated. While the use of customary law does not always produce sustainability, the study of customary methods of resource management can produce valuable insights into methods of managing resources in a sustainable way.

• A comparative approach to the controversial subject of the linkage between customary law and sustainable development • Case studies of indigenous customary law in Norway, Greenland and Hawaii are used to examine this link.


Preface; 1. The linkage between sustainable development and customary law; 2. Three case studies from Hawaii, Norway and Greenland; 3. Social interaction: the foundation of customary law; 4. How custom becomes law in England; 5. How custom becomes law in Norway; 6. Adaptive resource management through customary law; 7. The place of customary law in democratic societies; 8. Customary law, sustainable development and the failing state; 9. Towards sustainability: the basis in international law; 10. The case studies revisited; 11. The choice of customary law; 12. Conclusion: customary law in a globalizing culture.


Review of the hardback: 'The book is an insightful introduction to the topic, which will be of interest to academics and students in areas such as law, environmental studies, sociology and anthropology, as well as to development planners at the local, national and international level … it fills a gap in the current literature regarding the difficult link between customary law and sustainable development which is all too often taken for granted.' Environmental Conservation

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