Rechtskulturen Colloquium
Mon 27 May 2013 | 18:00–20:00

One State, Plural Legal Options: The Case of Kurds

Latif Tas; Comment: Lars Viellechner (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Juristische Fakultät, Room E25, Unter den Linden 9, 10099 Berlin

After three decades of living in their new home, Kurds in the UK have progressed from being a ‘victim diaspora’ into becoming more organised and capable of meeting the diverse needs of their community. Most UK-based Kurds refuse to use the official legal system to settle their disputes, at least initially. Instead, they prefer to resolve their disputes within the community, and for this purpose, they have recreated their own hybridised customary justice system consisting of the Kurdish Peace Committee (KPC). This more organised system is a first for Kurds, and is involved in the settlement of cases as diverse as family and business disputes, and minor criminal cases.

This presentation examines how and why this community prefers to solve their disputes themselves rather than approach the police or courts. A selection of case studies is used to illustrate how the KPC has helped to resolve some disputes and to act as a bridge between the British official legal system and Kurdish values and norms. The discussion will also consider research that I am currently undertaking as a post-doctoral fellow at Humboldt University. As a Rechtskulturen fellow, my work examines the customary practices of Kurdish and Turkish communities living in Germany, as well as their perceptions of and relationship with the German state.

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