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Law & Society

In an ongoing effort to document and analyze legal development in the West Bank and Gaza, the Institute of Law established its Law and Society Department in October 2005. This Department provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of law, engaging young Palestinian scholars of various academic backgrounds including legal, social and political.

The idea of establishing a Law and Society Department originated from former IoL research projects relating to socio-legal questions. In particular, the book titled "The Informal Justice System in Palestine" which was published by the IoL in 2006 has opened up new vistas of interdisciplinary research combining legal with social research approaches and paradigms. The underlying aim is to study how law interacts with social realities and how society influences in turn the formulation and implementation of law. Socio-legal studies examine law as a social phenomena as a set of rules entrenched in a particular society.

The IoL believes that healthy legal development and a functioning legal system require the shaping of scholars who besides legal expertise and skills are capable of studying law in its social context. Only a community of law-makers who analyze legal development in relation to society will effectively identify and satisfy the needs of that society. This approach to the study of law is pioneering in Palestinian academic discourse and is therefore of particular importance for Palestinian research and capacity-building.


The objectives of the Department can be summarized as follows:

  1.  Encourage and promulgate socio-legal studies in Palestine through research, resource building, networking with relevant institutions and experts, academic exchange and raising awareness about the social context of Palestinian law.
  2. Provide an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of law, politics and society in Palestine.
  3.  Promote a systematic study of the social consequences of the different legal (formal, informal, religious) systems operating in West Bank and Gaza as well as their critique with regards to Palestinian legal reform and the judicial system.