The Administrative and Judicial Organization of Courts. The case of Cameroon
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The aim of this work was to look at the judicial and administrative organization of courts the case study being Cameroon. This was to look at the unique nature of the courts in Cameroon in terms of their judicial and administrative organization. In order to truly understand the court system of Cameroon , different status were used like the law no 2006/015 of 29th December 2006 as amended and supplemented by law No. 2011/027 of 14th December , 2011 on the Judicial Organisation of Courts in Cameroon. The statement of the problem was to look at what makes the courts of Cameroon different in terms of admistration and judicial organization, while the objectives focused on the evolution of the laws on judicial organization of courts in Cameroon, the judicial and administrative organization of the courts in Cameroon, the challenges faced by the judicial and administrative organization of the courts in Cameroon, Policy recommendation and conclusion can be made and the methodology used was the qualitative methodology. The significance of the study,to provide better understanding to the laws governing courts organization in Cameroon, and to provide readers with an understanding of how the laws governing the courts have help to harmonize both systems of justice to function under one machinery. My findings were that Cameroon is a blend of the two judicial system and in comparism to other countries who practice two judicial systems as in the case of Canada, the judicial practice in Cameroon is a lot more centralized with little or no effective policies put in place to stabilize the judicial system another finding will be the co-dependency of the arms of government which should not be the case. But it is also fare to say there are some wins when it comes the courts, like the decentralization of courts in the country. Finally, recommendations have been for a more effective change of the constitution so as better organize the functioning of the arms of government there by making room for more effective laws.
This chapter will serve as a gate way to the other chapters of the study this chapter will cover aspects such as the background to the study, statement of the problem objective of the study, research question, the significance and justification, the limitation, scope and the synopsis of the chapters. In simple terms the chapter will identify the issues that will discuss in the chapters.
1.1 .Background to the study
Cameroon, with a total land area of 475,440 square kilometers, is located in Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo to the South, Central African Republic and Chad to the east, Lake Chad to the north and Nigeria to the west. The population of 23,109,871 (January 2015 estimates), is made up of an extraordinary diversity of about 250 tribes which speak at least 285 different indigenous languages (280 of which are living and 5 extinct). To this complex mix is superimposed a bi-cultural division between a minority Anglophone community from the former British trust territory of Southern Cameroons, who make up about 20% of the population and occupy two of the ten administrative regions in the country, and a dominant Francophone community from the former French Cameroun who make up 80% of the population and occupy the rest of the eight administrative regions. The English and French languages are constitutionally recognized as the official languages, though most official communications are usually in the dominant French language. However, Pidgin English, a common lingua franca in English-speaking West Africa, is widely spoken in the Anglophone regions and in some of the major towns in the Francophone regions, which have a substantial Anglophone community. The Portuguese are considered to be the first Europeans who arrived on Cameroon’s coast in the 1500s, but malaria prevented any significant settlement and conquest of the interior until the late 1870s.
The country’s name is derived from “Camaroes,” meaning shrimps, so-called by the Portuguese explorer Fernando Po, who named the River Wouri “Rio dos Camaroes” (Shrimp River), after the many shrimps. However, it was at the Berlin Conference of 1884 that all what is now Cameroon and parts of several of its neighbors became the German colony of “Kamerun.” Their presence lasted until 1916 when, during the First World War, a combined British and French expeditionary force defeated the Germans in Cameroon and proceeded to divide the territory into two unequal parts. The British took control of two disconnected portions, which they labeled Northern and Southern Cameroon respectively, whilst the French took the larger portion, constituting about four-fifths of the territory. This arbitrary division was later recognized by the League of Nations, which conferred mandates on the two powers to administer the territories on June 28, 1919. The mandates were later superseded by trusteeship agreements on the creation of the United Nations in 1945. The British administered their portion as part of their neighboring colony of Nigeria whilst the French made theirs part of their colony of French Equatorial Africa.
In an UN-conducted plebiscite of February 11, 1961, Southern Cameroon voted in favor of gaining independence by reuniting with the French Cameroun, which had already become independent on January 1, 1960, whilst Northern Cameroon voted in favor of remaining as part of Nigeria. On September 1, 1961, the Southern Cameroon and the newly independent French Cameroun were formally reunited as the “Federal Republic of Cameroon.” The legal system, like most in Africa, is a relic of the colonial era. However, it is unique in that it consists of two distinct and often conflicting legal systems, t[i]he English common law and the French civil law operating in some sort of tenuous coexistence. This makes Cameroon one of the few examples of such a dual legal system in the world. To this effect the courts of Cameroon are organized so as to administer both legal systems effectively to some extent, the Judicial Organization of Cameroon as contained in the law on judicial organization law No. 2006/015 of 29th December. 2006 as amended and supplemented by the law No. 2011/027 of 14th December 2011, comprises the following courts: Customary Law
Courts; Courts of First Instance; High Courts;
Military Courts; Lower Courts of Administrative
Litigation; Lower or Regional Audit Courts;
Courts of Appeal; the Supreme Court. In the course of this study, I will be looking at how these courts are organized and operate within the context of the Cameroon judicial system.
2.0. Statement of the Problem
What makes the courts of Cameroon different in terms of admistration and judicial organization?
3.0. Research Questions
What accounts for the uniqueness in the administrative and judicial organization of the courts in the case of Cameroon?
How has the laws on judicial organization of the courts in Cameroon evolve?
How are the courts in Cameroon organized judicially and administratively?
What are the challenges faced by the judicial and administrative organization of the courts in Cameroon?
What policy recommendations and conclusions can be made?
4.0. Objectives of the study
The judicial and administrative uniqueness of the courts in Cameroon.
The evolution of the laws on judicial organization of courts in Cameroon.
The judicial and administrative organization of the courts in Cameroon.
The challenges faced by the judicial and administrative organization of the courts in Cameroon.
Policy recommendation and conclusion can be made.
Lewis A. Kornhauser, Judicial Organisation and Administration, www.Edgar(Online at 07/03/2022
 The judicial System in Cameroon,( edited by Justice and Peace Commission Archdiocese of Bamenda)
FURTHER READING: LAW PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS