Skip to main content

Trisakti Law Faculty Workshop

Next week, on 23 August 2017 I look forward to talking at Trisakti University Law Faculty conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. My topic is on "Legal Culture and the Rule of Law in Indonesia: Religious deference and the blasphemy law".

Abstract: The recent criminal trial of Governor of Jakarta, Ahok, has highlighted the controversy over the Blasphemy Law in Indonesia. This raises questions about legal culture, how and why law is used, and the rule of law in Indonesia. My presentation examines the role of fatwa issued against so-called ‘deviant’ religious believers convicted on charges of blasphemy. This is an issue of growing concern in Indonesia, where an increasing number of individuals have been convicted for the offence of blasphemy since 1998. It identifies that fatwa, despite its lack of legal status, may play an influential part in the legal process. A fatwa may be used as a justification or basis for allegations of blasphemy to be lodged with the police. Once a blasphemy case reaches the District Court, a fatwa may also be used as evidence in court to support the prosecutor’s argument that a person is guilty of ‘insulting a religion’. This raises the issue of how the legal system reconciles state criminal law with Islamic fatwa. I examine how Islamic opinions are given weight in court, despite the fact that a fatwa is not recognised as an official or legally binding source of law by the state in Indonesia. Drawing on illustrations from several cases of blasphemy, I argue that a practise of “religious deference” has emerged, where the District Courts defer to the opinion of Islamic religious leaders and fatwa on issues of religious sensitivity. This principle of religious deference is one means by which the secular state courts negotiate and reconcile the demands of legal pluralism.

Popular posts from this blog

The impact of Covid-19 on research

Covid-19 is currently disrupting academic publishing in a number of ways.  There are disruptions to the global supply chain for the manufacture and distribution of printed journals. The following publishers have halted journal printing until further notice: Cambridge University Press (from 25 March 2020) Taylor & Francis (from 10 April) S ome journal editors or editing boards have suspended or delayed the review or publication process for academic journals.  On the other hand, some publishers are providing open access content for a limited period of time. See the following links from the UNSW library  and the  ANU library , or select publishers websites such as  OUP .  The University of California Press has opened free access to all its journals until the end of June 2020 Hart Publishing is currently offering free access for libraries to its online platform,  Bloomsbury Collections , until the end of May. To enable access for your institution, email Hart at O

Access to Justice and Administrative Law in Myanmar

Administrative law is an important part of access to justice because it can operate as a check and balance on government decision-making, and provide an avenue for individuals to seek review of government decisions. In a report sponsored by USAID and TetraTech for their 'Promoting the Rule of Law in Myanmar' program, I emphasise the importance of administrative law in Myanmar in promoting good governance, accountability and checks on executive power.  The main avenue for judicial review of administrative action in Myanmar is the constitutional writs under the 2008 Constitution. Since 2011, a large number of applications for the constitutional writs have been brought to the Supreme Court. The Writ Procedure Law 2014 was introduced to clarify the Supreme Court procedure for handling writ cases. The constitutional writs are a new area of law and support needs to be provided to a range of legal actors in order to take hold of the potential opportunity this provides.  Ef

Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar

Dr Melissa Crouch and Associate Professor Lisa Toohey of UNSW Law Faculty are undertaking a Professional Legal Education Project in Commercial and Corporate law in Myanmar (2016-2017), funded by the Asian Development Bank.  Melissa Crouch is the Team leader and Legal Education and Myanmar Law expert. Lisa Toohey is the Legal Education and Commercial Law expert on the project.  Emma Dunlop is the Legal Researcher and Project administrator. Melissa Crouch at the USC Strategic Action Plan meeting 2016 The focus of the project is on improving legal education and skills integral to the transactional practice and adjudication of commercial law, at this critical time in Myanmar's transition to democracy. The project includes developing a training program for the practical legal training needs of private lawyers, government lawyers, prosecutors and judges in commercial and financial law.  Melissa, Lisa and Melinda with law students from Dagon University In 2016, the first stag