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Last edited: December 20, 2011

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The same personnel may participate in both informal and formal systems in different, or even similar, capacities (Clark & Stephens, 2011). Paralegals often play this role, and in some countries they are being specifically trained to do so. Paralegals often have an understanding of both the formal and informal systems in a given locality and can provide a bridge between the two. Government officials may also play important roles in informal legal systems, from police and judges participating in sentencing circles, to local administrative officials being included as arbiters in indigenous justice mechanisms. Or officials may play the same role in both a state-sanctioned informal justice system as well as a similar parallel system outside of state control. In Tanzania, where traditional justice mechanisms are longstanding, local level magistrates in the formal system were required by law to consult village elders on cases in order to increase legitimacy in the community (Chirayath, 2005).