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Bertil Cottier’s chapter explores the doctrine of ordre public, which allows judges to block the ‘import’ of unacceptable foreign customs and traditions and which has received significant attention in the context of enhanced international relations at the personal and social level, including interethnic marriages and mass immigration. The ordre public doctrine is examined in respect of issues pertaining to family law and succession law, two domains where its impact is most significant since marriage, divorce, filiation and inheritance are deeply rooted in social and religious values. Special attention is paid to the clash, generated by increasing immigration from Muslim countries, between Islamic legal institutions such as polygamy and repudiation and Western principles of equality and non-discrimination.
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