Cultural Expertise and Litigation: Patterns, Conflicts, by Livia Holden

By Livia Holden

Cultural services and Litigation addresses the position of social scientists as a resource of professional facts, and is a made from their stories and observations of situations regarding litigants of South Asian beginning. what's intended in courtroom by means of "culture," "custom" and "law"? How are those suggestions understood via witnesses, advocates, judges and litigants? How some distance are cross-cultural understandings facilitated - or obscured - within the method? What recommendations are followed? And which of them turn into winning in courtroom? How is cultural realizing – and false impression – produced in those situations? and the way, additionally, do the choices in those instances not just mirror, yet impression, upon the legislation and the felony process? Cultural services and Litigation addresses those questions, because it elicits the styles, conflicts and narratives that symbolize the criminal position of social scientists in various de facto plural settings – together with immigration and asylum legislations, kin legislation, citizenship legislations and felony legislations.

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Her only option is to try to qualify for a so-called ‘U-visa’, which will allow her to remain in the US for an initial three years, with the possibility of an extension at the end of this period. This kind of visa, introduced in 2007, is designed for non-citizen victims of crimes, including the crime of domestic violence. 21 Another related phenomenon was highlighted in an article published a decade ago in a South Asian Muslim online journal, in reaction to the Chicago murder of a Pakistani immigrant woman by her cab-driver husband, drawing attention to what the writer characterized as a prevailing ‘ghetto culture of illegality’ within the community and some of the problems it has given rise to: When people are living in a country illegally, forging documents and faking identities, they are less likely to seek help for their problems from the right venues … [and] couples who are having problems are not willing to contact social services for fear of being found out.

They also may confront the American legal system when they become involved in criminal or non-family related civil cases of various kinds. I propose here to describe some of the circumstances under which South Asian immigrants living in America most frequently have occasion to engage with American law and examine some of the outcomes of such engagements. Because this immigrant population is a religiously heterogeneous one and since distinct codes of family law are applied according to the litigant’s religion in their countries of origin, my discussion focuses primarily upon Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, India or Bangladesh.

In 1996 he had travelled to Pakistan, where he married the plaintiff. Only after she arrived in the US, did she discover that he was already married. Unlike most immigrant women who find themselves in such a position, she soon filed a charge of bigamy against him. But the municipal court dismissed her complaint on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction, since the second marriage had taken place not only outside of the state but outside of the country. She then appealed to the state’s Superior Court, but ultimately failed to persuade the judge that the New Jersey law that proscribes bigamy was ever intended ‘to make a bigamous marriage contracted outside New Jersey an offense against the laws of this state’ (State of New Jersey v Abdul Razzak Ishaque).

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