The Burquinabé legal system

Legal system Civil Law vs Common Law

French civil law applies.

Historical Background

The legal system is based on the French civil law and customary law. Customary law applied mainly before the colonial period. French civil law applied both in the colonial period and the post-colonial period after independence in 1960.

Traditional Laws vs Civil Law

Both Civil and traditional laws apply. Traditional laws are mostly used in traditional courts at the village level. They are used mostly in cases related to divorce and inheritance.

Judiciary system

The highest court in Burkina Faso is the Supreme Court of Appeal. It is divided into chambers governing administrative duties handled by the Council of State Chamber, financial disputes handled by the Court of Accounts constitutional disputes handled by the Constitutional Council as well as judicial disputes handled by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The second highest court in Burkina Faso is the Court of Appeal. These courts mainly sit in the two largest towns of Burkina Faso, which are Ouagadougou and Bobo- Diolasso. The Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear civil, commercial, criminal as well as social matters.

The Court of Appeal is then followed by tribunals. These tribunals include the High Instance Tribunals, Instance Tribunals, District (arrondissement) Tribunal, Labour Tribunal as well as Children Tribunals.

Membership in other zone economic systems.

  – The Central Bank of West African States (WAEMU)

  – The Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA)

  – The Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)

  – The African Union, (A.U.)

  – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

  – The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)

  – The Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)

  – The Inter-African Conference on Social Security (CIPRES)

 – The G5 Sahel (G5S)


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