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Judicial Regulation and Administrative Control: Customary Law and the Nuer, 1898–1954

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2009

Abstract

Administrative commitment to customary law among the Nuer wavered under British rule. Its value was first briefly appreciated as a means of obtaining the effective submission of the people to government authority. By igio dissatisfaction with the rate of progress of submission led provincial officials to abandon active involvement in the settlement of internal disputes among the Nuer, but in doing so they ceased to have any real contact with the peoples they tried to govern. Withdrawal from settlement of internal cases made it impossible for administrators to arbitrate external disputes between the Nuer and their neighbours. In the 1920s government supervision of the settlement of disputes once again became a central part of administrative policy, and by the end of that decade customary law and leaders were subordinated to government control. Innovations from the 1920s to the 1940s were concerned mainly with procedure and enforcement. By the last decade of Anglo-Egyptian rule in the Sudan the administration of law had become the main function of Nuer administration, and reforms in the legal procedure meant reforms in the administrative structure.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1986

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References

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