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Parallel legal systems can and do exist within a single sovereign nation, and rural Guatemala offers one example. Such parallel systems are generally viewed as failures of legal penetration which compromise the rule of law. The question addressed in this paper is whether the de facto existence of parallel systems in Guatemala benefits the indigenous population, or whether the ultimate goal of attaining access to justice requires a complete overhaul of the official legal system. Ultimately, the author concludes that while the official justice system needs a lot of work in order to expand access to justice, especially for the rural poor, the existence of a parallel legal system can be a vehicle for, rather than a hindrance to, expanding such access.


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8 Sep 2022
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  • Journal title
    • Boston College Law School Law and Justice in the Americas Working Paper No. 6

  • Date submitted

    8 September 2022