THE POWERS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE IN CAMEROON
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This work aims at bringing out the various ways used by the administrative court to exercise his competence as the court of all matters involving the administration; most especially, when it has to do with injustice from the administration. This therefore means that when we are talking about administrative court in Cameroon, we are simply referring to its areas of competences, when it comes to matters that have to do with administrative litigation. The research uses primary and secondary sources of information. We have also look at the various ways put in place for the submission of a case before the administrative courts. At the end of the study, the researcher realized that apart from the administrative court, there is also the intervention of the judicial court in administrative matters, and also we can also see the intervention of the administrative court in matters of judicial arm of government. This topic will be examined in the aspect by looking at the jurisdictional competence and the limitation of the administrative courts in Cameroon; this shall be the main things which we shall be examining then in this work. From the above explanation one can therefore say that the power of the administrative courts in Cameroon is very important to be studied in this work.
1.1 Background of the Study
The force of the Cameroon legal system resides in the principles and concepts underlying the administration of justice, the institutions where justice is administered and the way the legal rule, regulations and judgments are enforced. The preamble of the 1996 constitution of the Republic of Cameroon provides that the “Law shall ensure the right of everyone to a fair hearing before the courts” and article 4 of the 1972 judicial organization ordinance corroborates same that “all judgments shall be pronounced in open court”. This is an aspect of the broad principle of judicial neutrality and impartiality and independence. Justice must not only be done; it must also be seen to be done.
The courts structure in Cameroon is highly decentralized. With the solo exception of the Supreme Court whose territorial jurisdiction covers the entire nation, all other courts are located at various territorial levels throughout the country. This has been prompted by the government’s desire to bring justice nearer to the people. This desire itself has evidently been motivated by the realization that the court, located as they were, in urban areas, were physically inaccessible to the vast majority of the people in the suburban areas.
The court system includes the Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals in each of the 10provinces, and courts of first instance (tribunals) in each of the 58 departments.) The Judicial Power shall be independent of the executive and legislative powers. Magistrates of the bench shall, in the discharge of their duties, be governed only by the law and their conscience. The President of the Republic appoints members of the bench and for the legal department assisted by the Higher Judicial Council. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the State in legal and administrative matters as well as in the appraisal of accounts. It comprises: 1) a judicial bench, 2) an administrative bench, and 3) an audit bench. The organization, functioning, composition and duties of the Supreme Court and the benches it comprises, the conditions for referring matters to them as well as the procedure applicable before them are laid down by law. The same applies to the courts of Appeal and judicial, administrative and lower audit benches. As of 2003, the court system was subordinate to the Ministry of Justice, which again was part of the Presidency. Cameroon based on French civil law system, with common law influence; has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.
The administrative judge existed in Cameroon since 1962 and in 2006 the law on judiciary organization in Cameroon gave powers to the administrative judge not forgetting the Cameroon constitution as per section 40.
The problem is to examine the powers of the administrative judge in Cameroon, with as much precision as possible, the nature of the powers devolved to the administrative judge in Cameroon in matters of administrative litigation. To better appreciate these powers, from the legal and jurisprudential sources, shows that they exercise competences different from those of ordinary judges. From this point of view, it is obvious that there is a growth in the powers of the administrative judge, at the detriment of the judicial judges. The focus of this work then is to investigate the extend of the powers of the administrative court.
Our bond of contention in this research is to investigate the powers of the administrative court in Cameroon. This will include the main research question and the specific research question as follows.
1.4.1. Main research question.
Our main focus here will be to answer the question, to what extend are the powers of the administrative court in Cameroon?
1.4.2. Specific Research Question.
- To examine the jurisdiction of the administrative court in Cameroon.
- To verify the limitations of the administrative court in Cameroon.
- To see how a case can be submitted to the administrative court in Cameroon.