Cover Stories: A Genealogy of the Legal Public Sphere in Yemen

  • Brinkley Messick
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


Compared with most countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the background of modern legal change in Yemen is unusual in several key respects. First, is the absence of a period of Western colonial rule, at least for the northern highlands. This meant that legal transformations generally came later and were markedly different than in most other countries. There was no restriction of existing Islamic legal applications to the sphere of personal status law, or family law, which was typical under colonial rule, and there also was no imposition of Western law in such characteristic areas as criminal and commercial law. Caveats to this non-colonial history, however, are the ramifying legal influences of British rule in Aden (1830–1967) and also the nearly 50-year period of Ottoman rule in the highlands around the turn of the 20th century.


Civil Society Cover Story Property Regime Court Judge Court Judgment 
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© Armando Salvatore and Mark LeVine 2005

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  • Brinkley Messick

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