The Cameroonian legal system
Civil law or Common law
Cameroon has a dual system of both French civil law and English common law which operate in coexistence.
Traditional law v Civil law
Both French Civil law and English common law apply in coexistence with traditional laws, as long as the traditional laws are not repugnant to justice, equality, and good conscience.
Traditional laws applied mostly during the pre-colonial period. The French and British were conferred administrative powers over Burundi by the League of Nations agreement. Both French civil law and English common law applied during the colonial period. Traditional laws continued to apply as long as they were not repugnant to justice. The system continued to be bi-jural after independence where French laws apply to the French-speaking regions and English common law apply to the English-speaking region. However, the unitary laws being introduced currently are based on the French civil system.
The English common law system applies in the Anglophone legal district while the French civil law applies in the Francophone legal district.
The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land. It has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal is second after the Supreme Court. It has appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from Customary Courts, Courts of First Instance, High Court, and military courts. The Court of Appeal is followed by the Administrative Court which has regional jurisdiction to litigate on matters. Below the Court of Appeal is the Special Criminal Court which has jurisdiction to hear criminal matters. The Special Criminal Court is followed by the Lower Audit Court which has jurisdiction over audit matters. The Military Courts follow the Special Criminal Court. They have jurisdiction to hear over military matters. Beneath the Military Court is the High Court which has jurisdiction over divisions and they also operate as Courts of First Instance. The lowest court is the Customary Court which consist of Alkali Courts in the Anglophone region and Tribunal Coutumier in the Francophone region.
Cameroon also has courts with special jurisdiction which deal with special matters. These courts include Court of Impeachment, Military Tribunals, State Security Court as well as the constitutional council.
Membership to other zone economic systems
Cameroon is a member of :
– The Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)
– The African Union, (A.U.)
– The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)
– The Inter-African Conference on Social Security (CIPRES)
– The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)
– The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
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