Between Litigation and Arbitration:Administering Legal Pluralism in Eighteenth-Century Bombay

Hodges, Lenny (2018) Between Litigation and Arbitration:Administering Legal Pluralism in Eighteenth-Century Bombay. Itinerario, 42 (3). pp. 490-515.

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Abstract

This article uses the records of the Bombay Mayor’s Court (1728–1798) to explore the ways in which an ostensibly English court of law attempted to administer law in a way that was acceptable to a cosmopolitan cast of litigants. I show how, due to the Court’s popularity with Indian litigants, and the difficulties of its hybrid jurisprudence, the Court eventually moved to a model of formalised arbitration. In this arrangement, local Indian elites exercised considerable autonomy, while British judges gained an illicit commission. As such, the evidence from the Mayor’s Court points to a novel iteration of legal pluralism in which ill-defined legal regimes came to blur and blend with each other in a single forum. I argue that this forces us to reconceptualise solely jurisdictional definitions of legal pluralism, which must be complimented with the study of a court’s ‘jurispractice’.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Itinerario
ID Code:
150063
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Dec 2020 15:25
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
18 Dec 2020 15:25