Monday, 10 December 2007

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Mess with the Supreme Court

Saudi Arabia has offered to sponsor a pilgrimage for Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court in Pakistan, who has been under house arrest since Musharraf's coup d'etat in early November. This is being interpreted as a means of relocating Chaudhary so the Pakistani government can continue with its usurpation of power.

This is not the first time Saudi has interfered in Pakistan's politics. Nawaz Sharif was exiled there in 2000, although interestingly Saudi brokered his return for the upcoming election.

Musharraf and his puppet government are afraid of Chaudhary because he represents legitimacy, legality, and integrity. He possesses the capacity to catalyze the opposition forces and mobilize them in a real challenge to the incumbents.

They can't kill him, but they can attempt to remove him. And, of course, the Americans favour this for they don't want to upset Musharraf's "war" against terror.

I hope Chaudhary is able to resist and remain alive. I want to see him restored as chief justice. He seems to be the only person in Pakistan who believes in the concept.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

What is Comparative Law?

I hope to begin to find answers next Thursday 6 December when Esin Örücü and David Nelken will be launching their new book,

Comparative Law at a Crossroads: A Handbook

at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR between 1730 to 1930.

There will be two responses to the editors from Prof Gordon Woodman of Birmingham University and Prof John Flood of the University of Westminster. A drinks reception follows afterwards.

Sometimes when reading about comparative law it seems more like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers than a discipline. (That's the sort of statement that would have a Foucauldian scurrying for cover.) Comparative law uses a language that speaks of families, bodies of law, legal transplants and legal irritants. It's as though Baron Frankenstein has announced to the world that he has created a new legal system, cobbled together from various bits lying around. It is a peculiar, recondite field. With luck, we shall have a clearer view.

The book covers the field from theory to specific aspects such as family law, criminal justice and finance. The chapters are written by a great array of authors including
Masha Antokolskaia, John Bell, Roger Cotterell, Sjef van Erp, Nicholas Foster, Patrick Glenn, Andrew Harding, Peter Leyland, Christopher McCrudden, Werner Menski, David Nelken, Anthony Ogus, Esin Örücü, Paul Roberts, Jan Smits and William Twining. It will probably be the definitive text for some time.

More in this symposium can be found here.