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The application of foreign legislation in Cameroon: a critical appraisal

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The application of foreign legislation in Cameroon: a critical appraisal

This research work is aimed at examining the application of foreign legislation in Cameroon to obtain this, the research questions which are: what is the origin and evolution of foreign legislation, the various forms of foreign legislation, the procedure and legislation of foreign legislation and policy recommendation will be looked at in detail. The qualitative research methodology is being used to carry out this research project. I will recommend harmonization of the legal system in Cameroon as there is sometimes conflict in the application of foreign law.

The application of foreign legislation in Cameroon: a critical appraisal




Cameroon operates a bi judicial system with the English common law operating in the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest and the French civil law operating in the eight Francophone regions[1]. Foreign legislations is also known as laws of nations is a set of rules, norms and standards generally accepted between nations[2]. It seeks to establish normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework that seek to guide states across a broad range of domains, including war, diplomacy, trade and human rights. Foreign legislations thus provides a means for states to practice more stable consistent and organized international relations[3].

The sources of foreign legislations in most states include international customs[4], treaties and general principles of law recognized by most national systems, and it is important to state that foreign legislations differ from state to state-based legal systems since it largely operates through consent, since there is no universally accepted authority to enforce it on sovereign states. As a consequence, states may choose not to be bound by foreign legislation and also violate rectified legislations[5]. However, there is a limitation since violation of customary international laws is backed by sanctions ranging from military intervention to diplomatic and economic pressure.

The relationship and interaction between domestic laws and foreign legislations is complex, since national laws may become foreign legislations when treaties permit national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the international criminal court or the European court of human rights. A locus classicus is the Geneva Convention which may require national laws to conform to the treaty provisions. Some national laws and constitutions provide for the implementation or integration of foreign legislations into domestic laws[6].

In Cameroon, foreign legislations are applicable in line with article 45 of Cameroon constitution of 18 January 1996 which expressly states” duly approved or rectified treaties and international agreements shall, following their publication override national laws, provided the other party implements the said treaty or agreement”. It is important to state that part vi of Cameroon constitution[7]  regulates the applicability of foreign legislations in Cameroon since it grants the president of the republic, the ability to negotiate and rectify treaties and international agreements, and further places such treaties over conflicting national laws. However, when it comes to examining the constitutionality of such agreements, powers is vested with the constitutional council.[8]


The application of foreign legislations is important as it seeks to provide reasonable solutions to the justice system of each member state and also fill the lacuna or lapses where necessary. In Cameroon, foreign legislations duly rectified by the president of the republic takes priority over national laws as clearly established in article 45 of the Cameroon constitution. It is however worth stating that respect and enforceability of such foreign legislations is problematic since there is no governing body to ensure the respect of foreign legislations by state parties.


The following questions shall serve as a guide to this research:

  • What is the origin and evolution of foreign legislations?
  • What are the various forms of foreign legislations?
  • What is the procedure and effectiveness of the application of foreign legislation in Cameroon?
  • What policy recommendations can be made to address the problem?


This research comprises of both general and specific objectives

1.4.1 General Objectives

  • The goal of this research is to critically examine the application of foreign legislations in Cameroon.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the above topic include:

  • To examine the origin and evolution of foreign legislations.
  • To assess the various forms of foreign legislations
  • To discuss the procedure for the application of foreign legislations in Cameroon.
  • To propose policy recommendations to challenges identified.


The usefulness of any research method or any method of scientific research lies in its clarity, objectivity and consistency. This research is pure doctrinal and it adopts the qualitative research method which does not make use of numerical data. This method is suitable for this research reason being that it analyses the problem and does not make use of statistical data. The sources of data here are both primary and secondary data. Primary data is obtained from international legal conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Bill of Rights, Geneva convention, and Cameroon national laws and case law. Secondary data is obtained from textbooks, journal articles, reports and websites.

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