Colonial Law Making: Cambodia under the French

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Sally Frances Low

In Colonial Law Making, Sally Low draws on colonial archives to reveal the contests and transactions that shaped justice in the French protectorate of Cambodia (1863–1954). She compares Cambodia with other indirectly colonised countries in Southeast Asia, demonstrating the significance of different methods of colonial domination. Her work crosses the boundaries of comparative legal history, area studies, and sociology to show the structural as well as the contingent factors that made colonial law.

"Sally Low’s innovative study of legal reform in French colonial Cambodia is a vital addition to the conversation on the legacies of colonialism on nation-building, governance, and the law in post-colonial nations. She reveals that the utilitarian jurisprudence molded by French colonialism underpins weaknesses in governance and rule of law in post-colonial Cambodia." – Sokhieng Au, Northwestern University 

"Sally Low has delivered a meticulously researched monograph on the legal history of Cambodia that traces the legacies of French colonial rule on postcolonial Cambodia’s jurisprudence. She unstintingly reveals how the French replaced Cambodian laws with French-derived codes, put in place a weak judiciary, and empowered Cambodia’s monarchy as essential to Khmer culture and nationalism."  Tamara Loos, Cornell University

“In this pioneering study Sally Low shows how a hybrid, multi-jurisdictional legal system in Cambodia emerged from the indigenous system during French colonial rule. Students of colonial law-making in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the world will find this book essential reading.”  Craig J. Reynolds, Australian National University

Sally Frances Low holds a doctorate in legal history from the University of Melbourne and has worked extensively in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

Publication Year: 2023
276pp / 229 x 152mm
2 maps, 9 b/w images, 1 diagram, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-981-325-244-8

Asian Studies Association of Australia: Southeast Asian Publications Series