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One plus one equals three: Legal hybridity in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the extent to which the evolution of a unique customary law in Aotearoa/New Zealand may find parallels in the evolution and interaction of two main languages of Aotearoa/New Zealand-Maori and English. It goes beyond the shibboleth of "one law for all": that there should be only one legal system in each country and that every law should apply to everyone. Legal concepts and institutions are contestable, and the interweaving of the elements of two customary systems create new hybrid concepts and norms. The chapter hypothesizes that a similar process of hybridization might occur in the meeting of languages and the consequent production of new words, forms, and styles. It discusses the analogy between language and customary law to be a fruitful one on other fronts, and brings that tool to bear on the question of what happens when two customary systems meet.

Keywords: customary law; dogmatism; hybridity; legal concepts; Maori language



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