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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 166857 Find in a Library
Title: Asian Customary Laws Through Western Eyes: A Comparison of Sri Lankan and Hong Kong Colonial Experience (From Law, Society, and the State: Essays in Modern Legal History, P 145-177, 1995, Louis A Knafla and Susan W S Binnie, eds. -- See NCJ-166852)
Author(s): A Cooray
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto Press
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8, Canada
Sale Source: University of Toronto Press
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Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This paper analyzes legal contexts in Sri Lanka and Hong Kong, where systems of colonial and local law were established well before the introduction of English common law.
Abstract: In these instances, the reception of English law occurred after the territories were ceded to Britain by the Netherlands and China, respectively. In Sri Lanka a combination of mixed races and legal cultures in the indigenous population, together with a history of earlier colonization, created a setting in which the indigenous laws and the Roman-Dutch colonial law interacted with the English colonial law to form a new legal system. In Hong Kong, on the other hand, the reception of common law occurred in the context of an established system of Chinese customary law, which failed to survive under new conditions of English colonization. The repealing of parts of Asian laws on the ground that they were repugnant to the needs of modern times did not necessarily mean that the repealed customary practices ceased to exist, however. Although only monogamous marriages are permitted by law in Hong Kong, recent newspaper reports indicate that Hong Kong Chinese businessmen who commute regularly between Hong Kong and China for business maintain two wives, one in Hong Kong and the other in China. Another illustration of customary traditions that continue to exist is the importance of family relations in business activities in Hong Kong. In Chinese tradition, the family as a unit is more important than its individual members in relation to property-holding. Familial business ties have generally operated within the law and do not pose a conflict between social custom and law. 74 notes
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Foreign laws; Hong Kong; Jurisprudence; Sociology of law; Sri Lanka
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