A Legal Appraisal of Children’s Rights in Cameroon: Examining Legitimacy and Recognition of Children in English Speaking Parts of Cameroon
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The research on a legal appraisal of children’s rights in Cameroon, is based on the legitimacy and recognition of children in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Chapter one will be the general introduction of the work; while chapter two examines the legitimacy and recognition of children in a void and voidable marriages; chapter three discusses legitimation by subsequent statutory law marriage, customary law marriage, acknowledgement; chapter four talks on the effects of legitimation, rights of a legitimized child, duties of a parent to a legitimized child, duties of a legitimized child to the parents, constitutional approach to legitimation; and chapter five which is the concluding part of the work, it contains the findings of the work and necessary recommendations.
Legitimacy is the condition attributed to a person born anywhere of a valid and subsisting marriage, for instance; the common law status of legitimacy confirms the inter-relation of status and estate in England. At common law, the only person who could claim to be legitimate was one born in a lawful wedlock.
Lord Simon of Glaisdale defined status in the Ampthil peerage case as: “the fact or condition of belonging to a certain class in the society to which the law ascribes peculiar rights and duties, capacities and incapacities”. The legal consequences of status do not depend on the party’s intention and the most complete incidence of the status were conferred upon legitimacy including the rights to succeed as heir to English land and English titles of honor.
Legitimacy and legitimation are principally connected with status. It is therefore important to determine the status of a child at any given moment as it has far-reaching legal consequences. A child may be born legitimate or acquire the status by subsequent legitimation.
A legitimate child is one regarded by law as a child born with full rights and it confers on the child certain rights against the man whom the law regards as his father and generally against the society.
Legitimacy for lawyers is a concept whereby a couple’s child is entitled a family member and enjoys the legal rights which the status involves.
However, the basic ingredients to prove the legitimacy of a child is through the following:
There must exist a valid marriage between the parents of the child, customary or statutory marriage.
The wife has to be the mother of the child in question.
The father is also presumed to be the husband of the mother of the child born during the subsistence of the marriage.
The above requirements must be fulfilled before a child will be said to be legitimate, the absence of which the child will not be regarded as a legitimate child.
Children born or conceived when there is a valid and subsisting Marriage between their parents are referred to as legitimate children.
It was assumed that such a legal relationship did not exist. Such a child was automatically cut off from succession rights and rights to inherit property. meaning a bastard, who has no legal relationship or is recognized neither with the father nor with any other relative.
Are legitimacy and legitimation principally connected with status of the child?
The absence of which the child is regarded as illegitimate and this child will be deprive of the benefits entitled to him?
The study focuses on the concept of legitimacy, that is children born or conceived when there is a valid and subsisting marriage between their parents. It will also examine the family law reform relating to legitimacy and legitimation.
More so, the mode of legitimation will also be examined, this is due to the lack of uniformity in the modes of legitimation, which are not universally accepted by the common law, the religion and customary law especially in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
Also, the modes as of today which are inoperative and unenforceable will also be looked into and solutions will be preferred in order to make it operative and enforceable.
The study focuses on the concept of legitimacy and recognition of children in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
Examine family law reform relating to legitimacy and legitimation.
Mode of legitimation as a result of the lack of uniformity in the law.
Focus will be on exposing the uncertainties in the legislative position.
It will be limited to family law in the aspect of parent and child relationship in respect to legitimacy and legitimation, the right and duties of a legitimated child to his parents and the right and duties of a parent to his legitimized child, the study will also be linked to our principal religions in Cameroon i.e. Christianity and Islam.
 (1977) AC. 547, 577.
FURTHER READING:LAW PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS