While the ills of the West's corporatization of the world have long been debated and catalogued, often neglected is the role the law plays in empowering the rich, disenfranchising the poor, and serving as the "handmaiden to empire." Since what has been termed the "rule of law revival," which saw its genesis sometime in the late 1980s, the adoption of Western legal frameworks to help developing and Third World nations transition and gain access to the ever growing global market has become commonplace. With the coming of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) revolution during the last few decades, the West has also begun to export its newest "soft technology," a form of conflict resolution purportedly based on a "harmon[ic]" as opposed to an "adversarial" approach." The question is whether this is really a new product which will promote greater access to justice, or whether this is something more akin to a soft drink company whose vending machines now carry bottled water alongside their familiar carbonated beverages. Is it just a new product in the same corporate machine? Part II of this article will discuss the significance and application of rule of law doctrine and methods of legal reform implemented in developing nations. It will debate some of their positives and negatives, as well as their relationship to the idea of neocolonialism. Part III will describe the exportation of ADR and its interweaving into developing legal systems. As Africa has often been at the forefront of discussions regarding neocolonialism, 2 Part IV will seek to analyze the implementation of a "multi-door" courthouse in Uganda's Commercial High Court--one which seeks to integrate mandatory mediation with an adopted common law tradition-and how its development was influenced by Western theories of legal reform. It will evaluate the successes and failures of these reforms by judging them on their overarching goals, methods, and results. It will further discuss the use of Local Council Courts (LCCs) as a form of "grass roots" justice in Uganda, and compare the potential gains and losses of both systems. Part V will explore the need for synthesis between modem legal reform, ADR, and customary forms of justice by enacting a small claims procedure, allowing for a uniquely Ugandan rule of law, and creating a cohesive system of justice in the commercial realm. Part VI will conclude this article.
Anthony P. Greco,
ADR and a Smile: Neocolonialism and the West's Newest Export in Africa,
10 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/drlj/vol10/iss3/8