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Community Mediation as a Hybrid Practice: The Case of Mediation Boards in Sri Lanka

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2016

Sepalika WELIKALA*
Affiliation:
The Open University of Sri Lanka

Abstract

Through an empirical study of the state-sponsored community mediation programme in Sri Lanka known as Mediation Boards (MBs), this paper examines this local-level mediation as a hybrid practice. Established as an Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, the MBs were initiated as a more effective and efficient alternative to the formal courts for local and minor disputes. In the case-study conducted on an MB, it was found that there is extensive replication of formal legal procedures alongside the mediators’ own cultural interpretations of disputes. By locating this hybrid practice theoretically within the framework of legal pluralism and its broad definition of law, an attempt is made to expand the scope of the pluralistic nature of law not only to include alternative forms of law, but also to understand the dynamic interactions between multiple normative orderings.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press and KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University 

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Footnotes

*

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, The Open University of Sri Lanka; PhD (Anthropology) and MA (Anthropology), University of California, Santa Barbara; BA (Sociology) University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. An earlier version of this paper was selected for the 2014 Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum held at the Stanford Law School, Stanford University where many helpful comments were received. I am particularly grateful to Gillian Hadfield and Stewart Macaulay for their insightful comments and suggestions. Correspondence to Sepalika Welikala, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Social Studies, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka. E-mail address: sweli@ou.ac.lk

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