Legal Innovations in Asia
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Legal Innovations in Asia

Judicial Lawmaking and the Influence of Comparative Law

Edited by John O. Haley and Toshiko Takenaka

Legal Innovations in Asia explores how law in Asia has developed over time as a result of judicial interpretation and innovations drawn from the legal systems of foreign countries. Expert scholars from around the world offer a history of law in the region while also providing a wider context for present-day Asian law. The contributors share insightful perspectives on comparative law, the role of courts, legal transplants, intellectual property, Islamic law and other issues as they relate to the practice and study of law in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
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Chapter 4.4: The influence of US and Japanese laws upon Indonesian law

Kurnia Toha


Long before colonialists arrived in Indonesia, villages throughout the archipelago applied their own norms and rules. Communities in a range of regions coexisted peacefully based on values existing in those respective communities. These rules were unwritten and uncodified. After colonialism came to Indonesia, different rules of law were implemented in different classes of communities. For Europeans, European law was implemented, while for Indonesians, including foreign easterners – those of Chinese, Arab, or Indian descent – customary laws were implemented, except if they voluntarily submitted themselves to the Western legal system. In addition, there was Islam’s Sharia law, applicable to Muslim/Islamic Indonesian people, in particular pertaining to marital and inheritance law. Subsequent to independence, the Indonesian elite aspired to reform the laws applicable in Indonesia in order for them to become modern law. Legal development from 1945 during the Sukarno period and up to 1966 had not seen much transformation as independence was followed by a period of consolidation and more focus was placed on development in the political field. After the rule of President Suharto, which began in 1967 and continued until 1998, the focus was on economic development. During this period of economic development, Indonesia operated an open-door policy on foreign investment and international cooperation. In order to encourage rapid economic development and foreign investment, it was necessary to reform laws so as to conform with international economic policy. Erman Rajagukguk has stated that economic globalization would have an enormous impact in the field of law, namely that globalization of law would take place.

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