oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Statehood and the law-making process in Cameroon : from bifurcation to unification

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



On 1 October 1961, Cameroon completed the process of gaining independence from colonial rule and acceded to statehood. One of the challenges it faced as a nascent state was that of enforcing the rule of law which necessitated the establishment of a mechanism for law-making. The aim of this article is to examine how far Cameroon has progressed in this sphere since independence. At its birth it was in the peculiar situation of having two different legal systems, namely common law that applied in the English-speaking part of the country and civil law that applied in the French-speaking part of the country. On independence, with its new legislative institutions and backed by certain constitutional provisions, the country embarked upon a policy of legal unification, aiming to pass laws of general application to the whole territory. At the national level, this policy is implemented by the adoption and promulgation of laws (at times the product of unification) intended for application in the entire country. This process is facilitated by a provision in the Constitution relating to treaties that have been signed and ratified by Cameroon. The treaty provisions prevail over other municipal laws and are of general application in the country. In this way Cameroon is making an effort to unify its law.

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