Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Jedidiah J Kroncke on Law and Development (New Book Chapter)

"Law and Development"
Jedidiah J Kroncke
in Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law 
Edward Elgar Publishing, pp.391–399
Published online: December 2023

I. Introduction

Studies that self-identify as within the field of ‘law and development’ posit that legal institutions and practices can be reformed to promote social development, traditionally through efforts funded by ‘developed’ countries in ‘developing’ countries. Yet, beyond this seemingly broad concern, perhaps the one defining feature of the term ‘law and development’ is the perpetually unresolved nature of any more decisive self-definition (Prado [2010]). Some of this definitional struggle admittedly echoes the traditional problematic of defining law (Nader [1965]). Is law restricted to the work of explicitly self-identified legal matter such as legislation, case decisions, treaties and the similarly explicitly self-identified actors who produce them such as lawyers, legislations and judges? Or is law a much broader array of social institutions, norms and practices that exist in and outside such formal categories? Of more recent vintage, parallel debates exist over the meaning of ‘development’, in particular, how ‘development’ is measured to gauge ‘progress’ and by whom (Gudynas [2016]). The once dominant association of development with aggregate national economic growth has given way to quite diverse and divergent views on the positive indicia of human life (Stanton [2007]). As such, the myriad actors who produce work under the rubric of ‘law and development’ invariably are prompted to triangulate a definition that makes some assumption about, or overt claim to focus on, the intersection of particular understandings of both ‘law’ and ‘development’ (Trebilcock and Prado [2021]). A simple review of the types of reforms pursued as part of ‘law and development’ work reveals its wide-ranging ambit. Some reforms emphasize technical aspects...

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