what is “polycentric law”?

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what is “polycentric law”?

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So, if a crime happens in your town, the police come and investigate, and if a criminal is caught they get tried in the local court house by a judge, using the laws of your society.

There is one police force, one judicial system, and one set of laws governing what is and isn’t a crime. There is a monopoly on law, basically.

In a community with a polycentric legal system you could have multiple entities that are responsible for all of that.

Historically this existed with things like guilds or the church, which could have their own system of courts and laws which could impose justice.

If a business was wronged by another business of the same type, they could go complain to the city watch (who might not care) or they could take the matter to the guilds, which might give a more favorable judgement or have specific laws to deal with the crime that is more applicable.

There is basically an overlap of jurisdictions (the regular city watch and the guild) and two separate sets of laws being imposed (the regular laws of the land and the guild laws).