Nafay Choudhury: Law and Trust in Self-Regulating Orders
Law and Trust in Self-Regulating Orders: An Empirical Study of Kabul’s Premier Money Bazaar
Nafay’s research involves an empirical study of trust within a money exchange bazaar located in Kabul. The money bazaar plays a central role in regulating banking and business activities throughout the country, even though it is a self-regulating private order i.e. an extralegal forum capable of processing disputes and regulating parties’ behaviour. Money exchangers in the bazaar provide a variety of services beyond money exchanging. They facilitate domestic and international money transfers; they store the money of lay citizens for safekeeping; they provide credit services to individuals and businesses; and they assist the central bank in controlling the money supply. The prominence of the bazaar overshadows banking institutions in the country, which remain largely out of the reach of lay citizens. Crucially, the operation of the bazaar is sustained through trust relationships between a wide number of actors with different roles and interests. Nafay’s research focuses on the trust relationships and normative ordering within the bazaar. The money bazaar presents an opportunity to study trust within the legal context, given its central role—as opposed to law—in maintaining order. Furthermore, it presents an opportunity to study the unintended consequences of legal development, since reforms to the banking sector have paradoxically created greater reliance on the informal bazaar.
Nafay Choudhury (BA McGill, MA Queen’s, LLB/BCL McGill) is currently a PhD candidate at King’s College London, where his research theorizes on the relationship between legal and nonlegal norms in developing societies, based on empirical research methods. His research was awarded the Simon Roberts Award by the Modern Law Review for the best thesis topic on legal ethnography and legal anthropology. Nafay was previously Assistant Professor of Law at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), where he taught courses and researched in the areas of comparative law, contract law, torts, legal pluralism, customary law, private international law, and legal education. He joined AUAF as part of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project at Stanford Law School, helping to establish the country’s first English-medium law program. He has published articles on the topics of comparative law and legal pluralism in variety of peer-reviewed journals. He served as a Shari’ah Advisor for the Afghanistan International Bank. He has been a Visiting Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and was also a Researcher for the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Doha, working under Professor Tariq Ramadan. Outside of academia, he volunteers alongside an international consortium of lawyers supporting refugees in Europe.