Common Law Division Opened at Cameroon Supreme Court

Common Law lawyers’ apprehensions were addressed by Laurent Esso, the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and keeper of the Seals through an announcement during a media conference on Thursday, March 30, in Yaoundé.

The series of measures to address the legitimate concerns of Common Law layers include the establishment of a common law department at ENAM (Advance School of Administration and Magistracy).

In addition, a faculty of political and legal sciences at the University of Bea and the vital conception of the Department of English law in the University of Doula, Dschang, and Ngaoundere are to be created.

Common Law section at the Supreme Court will also be established, announced by Minister Esso.

The Minister revealed that those moves are with the intention of advancing the functioning of the judiciary and to fulfill the judicial and legal personality of the constitution in Section 1 paragraph 3 which states that the official languages of the country of Cameroon shall be French and English and both languages have equal importance.

Esso reiterated that the president of Cameroon had started reforms regarding the operation of the judicial system and had taken the chair on astute measures even before the lawyers announced publicly their claims.   The Minister said that since 2008, a treaty which contained only French as the working language of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) on the action of Cameroon was already amended to acknowledge English and other languages as working language.

To reinforce the measure, Minister Esso in the past several months had emblematically gave copies of the English version of the OHADA law and other similar acts to the Bar Association, Higher Education institutions and Ministries in Bamenda and Buea and other Public service organizations.

His action, he added, is for the purpose of augmenting the inadequate distribution of OHADA instruments in English. Also, several legal disciplines have been acclimatized to give a Cameroonian spirit to those characteristics of the law. That is the case with the Criminal law which is similar for the entire country and codified in the Penal Code.

The criminal procedure and the Criminal Procedure code in Cameroon are universal and have been codified. The Labour Law, Insurance law known as the CEMAC code, Land law and other facets of the law are the same for Anglophones and Francophones without actually affecting the common law principles.

Details were also given by the Minister on the basic concerns raised by the Common law lawyers emphasizing that the process is near completion for the establishment of a Common Law section at the Supreme Court which will heed exclusively in English all final complainants from the South West and the North West regions.

An analogous process is on for the Common Law section at ENAM that will be in operations from the next entrance. Anglophone contenders into ENAM will be examined in a particular common law paper and assessed by Anglophone professors.

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