Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society

Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society

Study of So-Called Paralleljustiz in Criminal Law in North Rhine-Westphalia

In the last few years, the informal resolution of disputes within minority groups in Germany has been increasingly criticized and referred to as Paralleljustiz (parallel justice) with a clearly negative connotation. These kinds of alter­na­tive mecha­nisms are often accused of obstructing access to formal justice and of threatening the rule of law. Relying on the theories of normative plurality and the concept of semi-autonomous social fields, the project “Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society” aims at investigating extrajudicial dispute resolution mecha­nisms among a number of minority groups (defined ethnically, culturally, and religiously) living in Germany. In the frame­work of this larger project, the present “Study of So-Called Paralleljustiz in Criminal Law in North Rhine-Westphalia” analyzes the way in which German institutional actors (in particular judges, prosecutors, and law en­force­ment agents) cope with the existence of these alternative mechanisms. The research questions are divided into three main clusters. The first looks at difficulties encountered by these actors when facing alternative mecha­nisms that overlap (or interfere) with a criminal trial and at possible solutions at their disposal. The second looks at the rela­tion­ship between alternative mecha­nisms and the rule of law, especially with regard to the respect of individual rights and the State’s monopoly on the use of force. Finally, the third looks at the definition of Parallel­justiz and aims at substantiating it with the help of perspectives gained from the aforementioned institutional ac­tors. The study focuses mainly on North Rhine-Westphalia and employs qualitative research methods (surveys, analysis of prosecutors’ files, and interviews).


Outcome: research report, articles
Research focus: III. Criminal Law in Fragmented Societies
Project language: German
Project status: completed
Photo: © Radachynskyi/iStock-1139899254

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View