The UPSA Law School presents the ‘African Customary Law Conference’ under the theme: Customary Law in a Changing Africa.
A project of the UPSA Law School, Accra, Ghana in collaboration with the Leitner Center at Fordham Law School, New York, USA.
The sponsoring organizations of the African Customary Law Conference invite submissions and participant nominations for collaborative exchange and discussion at a two-day virtual conference to take place on January 28-29, 2021.
The conference working language will be English and will include paper presentations on topics detailed below. It will also include working group discussions with a broad range of stakeholders, including, for example, traditional leaders, members of the judiciary, representatives of non-governmental organizations, law reform agencies, policymakers, and other interested persons on topics related to customary law.
Customary law, the traditional law indigenous to a region, continues to regulate many areas of people’s lives in Africa. Some African constitutions now enshrine the right to culture and oblige courts to apply customary law where applicable.
Elsewhere, constitutional, statutory and common law have superseded most or all customary law. Even in such situations, customary law may nevertheless govern in certain areas, such as requirements for marriage, the rights and duties of husbands and wives, the obligations toward and custody of children, the ownership of property acquired during the marriage, distribution of profits in commercial land dealings, and many other aspects of family and socio-economic life. Moreover, even where conflicting constitutional or statutory law exists, lack of access to legal resources may mean that, as a practical matter, customary law still governs even if largely ignored in key law reform initiatives in countries on the continent.
The persistence of the rule-subsidiarity status of customary law in many countries in Africa creates a situation of legal dislocation for millions. As detailed further below, the UPSA African Customary Law conference will explore the changing dynamics of customary law on the continent as a twenty-first-century reality.