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Minor Law, Culture and Development


Law is of major importance for socio-economic development. Ideally, law organizes human interaction in a way that promotes justice and legal certainty and protects vulnerable groups from exploitation and arbitrariness. The law offers the state an instrument to achieve development goals. At the same time the law imposes restrictions on the state’s actions towards citizens. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, however, all this is not self-evident and law often only partially performs the functions mentioned. This can partly be explained by the fact that law does neither arise from nor function within a vacuum, but in a particular historical, political, economic and social context, nationally as well as on a global level.
In order to indicate the values, norms and meanings associated with this context, the concept of culture is often used. This concept is very important to understand and explain the functioning of law. Law, culture and development are connected in various ways. A good analysis of these relationships is necessary for resolving major national and global issues such as building a stable rule of law and good governance in fragile states, defining freedom of expression and religion, protecting the position of women, the legal position of minority groups, and finding a balance between economic growth and environmental protection, and between individual rights and group rights.

Given the structure of the program and the limited number of participants, preference is given to students who follow the full minor of 30 ECTS. If a (non Dutch speaking) student can fill a maximum of 15 ECTS of electives, the student must take the following courses:

  • Law, Governance and Development (5 ECTS, semester 1 block 1)

  • Trade and Finance in the Global Economy (5 ECTS, semester 1 block 1)

  • Law and Society in Japan (5 ECTS, semester 1 block 2)

Objective of the minor

The objective of the minor Law, Culture and Development is to teach students about the central concepts of law and the connections between law, culture and development. Students must be able to apply this knowledge within their own major studies, be able to independently collect and organize information on this subject, and be able to participate in the public debate on subjects related to law, culture and development.

Final learning objectives

After successful completion of this minor, students are able to:

  • Understand and describe the most important legal concepts;

  • Debate the main approaches to the concept of culture;

  • Identify how law works in different cultural and development contexts;

  • Evaluate a number of major development problems in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the development policies and governance needed to address them;

  • Identify the interrelationships between law, culture and development;

  • Apply relevant concepts to the socio-legal analysis of contemporary global social problems related to law, culture and development.


Students from Leiden University can register for the minor from 1 May 2020 in uSis: the study guide number is 2000MLCDN (St. act./class 1045).

Contact details

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1

Law, Governance and Development (LAW) 5

Studenten dienen in totaal vier gebonden keuzevakken te volgen. Daarbij is niet vereist dat de keuzevakken gelijk verdeeld worden over de semesters.

Gebonden keuzevakken (semester 1):

Introduction to Law 5
Principles of Constitutional Law (subject to change) 5
Trade and Finance in the Global Economy 5
Introduction to International Public Law 5
Law and Society in Japan 5
Socio-legal Studies 5

Semester 2

Law and Culture 5

Gebonden keuzevakken (semester 2):

Law and Governance in Asia 5
Law and Governance in Africa 5
Law, Sharia and Governance in North Africa and the Middle East 5
Recht in de multiculturele samenleving 5