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Accepting legal variety should not be dismissed as “woke cultural relativism”

Reconciling different legal traditions is a fraught but inescapable task in modern liberal societies

By David Allen Green   May 2021

Illustration by Ian Morris

The government and its media supporters are currently at war with “wokeness.” An awareness of cultural sensitivities is regarded as “cultural relativism,” and it would seem that is to be disdained. But the simplistic attack ignores real problems with the imposition of laws on others with different understandings of the rules that should govern a society.

So familiar are we with acts of parliament and clickable terms and conditions that it can be difficult to realise how exceptional written laws are in the story of our species. For a good deal of human history, oral and customary laws…

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