Research Output

Of Texts and Drama: Delivering Justice in Bhutan.

  This paper presents a short history of the development of legal texts in Bhutan with some analysis of how the later texts reflect the globalized language of the rule of law refracted through recent attempts to anchor and legitimize Bhutanese court process with cultural imagery. It then moves to a discussion of religious cultural imagery and its recent fascinating use in the legal system, a change that has occurred in just the last twenty years. This imagery in the form of huge masks in the courtrooms comes from a key drama enacted throughout Bhutan at the annual tshechu (religious festivals) depicting the judgement of the dead by Yama, Lord of the Dead. The paper argues that the role and meaning of religious belief and its presence in the judicial sphere needs to be examined and reexamined in each context for its presence and use. Building on Brown (2015) the paper argues that we need to consider the different worldviews expressed in different periods, as reflected in the texts examined, when we consider the complex interrelationship between Buddhism and law in Bhutan.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 December 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    JX International law

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    340 Law

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Whitecross, R. W. (2017). Of Texts and Drama: Delivering Justice in Bhutan. Buddhism, Law & Society, 2,



Legal Codes; Civil and Criminal Procedure; Imagery; Legal Transplants

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