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The Indigenous Legal Institutions

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about the legal systems, jurisprudence and conflict/dispute resolution in traditional Africa. A society cannot exist without rules and principles that govern relationships between a person and other persons, the community, and the environment as well as handle problems that may arise within these relationships. A set of such rules, codified or not, may be termed "law". Four may be distinguished: natural, contractual, statutory, and customary laws. Depending upon the nature of the dispute or offense, African societies possessed a hierarchy of courts to deal with them: the moot, the family, the ward, the chief 's, and the king's court. Disputes, of course, arise over property claims; for example, when two arrows penetrate a game and stay in. Such disputes are resolved by arbitration or moot. In more organized societies, property claims and rights are settled and upheld in native courts.

Keywords: contractual law; customary law; dispute resolution; jurisprudence; legal systems; native courts; natural law; statutory law; traditional Africa



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