Prof. Cornelis van Vollenhoven became in 1901 the first professor in Adat Law at Leiden University. It was a move towards more respect for the culture and style of indigenous society. In 1917 Van Vollenhoven started together with Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje the Adatrechtstichting, a Foundation for the promotion of adat law (besides European Law and Islamic Law or shari'a). The Institute now under director Jan Michiel Otto organised a three day seminar in Leiden. I attended the opening session on 22 May. Apparently adat law is no loger directed against European influence, but is now in defence for IP or Indigenous People. The big organization is AMAN: Asosiasi Masyarakat Aman Nusantara.
From Indonesia I saw some lecturers in Adat Law, both from general and Islamic universities, besides activists of Aman and related organizations. After 1998 and the movement towards decentralization there is better understanding for them, but it remains an uphill struggle, especially in order to fight the great plantations who received so many adat lands. How to get these back?
Picture below is Sandra Moniaga, human rights activist, fighting for land to be given back to local adat copmmunities. It appears to be a difficult problem, because poor farkers have to fight rich conglomerates and business people, often connected with local administration. And the law are complicated.
There was much debate about pro and contra the formulation for a new law in village administration.
In 1969-1970 I followd a course on adat law in Nijmegen. Prof. moh. Koesnoe was a visiting professor at the time. He abused adat law to defend the procedure of mushawarah as the 'best and traditional' way of making decisions. Not one man one vote, but seeking harmony (which in fact meant a total submission to the central government of Soeharto).
For Snouck Hurgronje it was also local Indonesian rules against shari'a rules from Arabia.
There are many faces in Hukum Adat