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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 4 No 1 (2002)

The Invention of Burmese Buddhist Law: A Case Study in Legal Orientalism

Hilary McGeachy studied law and arts at the Australian National University, Canberra.

This article locates the 1882 Notes on Buddhist Law of Sir John Jardine, a British Judicial Commissioner in colonial Burma, in the context of discourse on Orientalism in comparative law. It argues that his now-contested account of Burmese customary law as derived from Indian traditions was at once intended to provide resources to colonial administrators and was a product of a belief in the inherent value of scholarship. Critiques of Orientalism notwithstanding, the author concludes there remains much of value in colonial writing about law in Asia.

(2002) 4(1) Asian Law 30

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