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Legal system

The complex legal system of Cameroon has seen multiple legal systems develop due to its complex colonial past combined with custom-based law. Traditionally, the two Anglophone regions of North West and South West have been English Common Law jurisdictions whilst French Civil Law has been applied in the eight Francophone regions. Since 2005, when the very different penal codes were unified, there has been substantial investment into updating and expanding the judicial system. Modern Cameroon municipal law is a hybrid version of the received laws. It incorporates and integrates local and imported laws and international treaties. Furthermore, the nation is seeing the emergence of a combination of Common and Civil Law together, enacted by local legislation and decisions of Cameroonian courts.  

Despite opposing legal traditions, the country possesses a unified court system.  Each region has a magistrates’ court (court of first instance) and a High Court.  Appeals from these courts are directed to the appeals court which sits at regional level.  The Supreme Court gives final judgement on appeals passed on from the provincial Courts of Appeal.  Although independence of the judiciary is ensured under the Constitution, the Supreme Court comes under the Ministry of Justice.  Additionally, customary law in Cameroon governs matters of personal status – customary marriages, divorce, custody, inheritance, adoption and affiliation.  It is based upon the traditions of the ethnic group predominant in the region and so differs depending on region and ethnic group. Traditional courts in the villages (non statutory courts) exercise jurisdiction over any matter or dispute arising in the village, whether civil or criminal. The majority of traditional courts allow appeal of their decisions to traditional authorities of higher rank. Customary law comprises Islamic law alongside native laws and customs, and is supposed to be valid only when ‘it is not repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience’.

Legal organisations in Cameroon
Abalu-Bobga & Co.
Achu and Fon-Ndikum Law Firm
Achu Julius
Akkum, Akkum & Associates
Ashukem and Co.
Bonny & Associés
Cabinet Balemaken & Associes SCP
Cabinet d'Avocats Henri Job
Cabinet Fomukong
Cabinet Nyemb
Cameroon Bar Council Association, The
Cara Chambers & Associates
Duga & Co. Law Firm
Ebong and Eben Law Firm
Emmanuel Ekobo
Essomba & Associates
Etah-Nan & Co.
Forchak IP & Legal Advisory
Henry Samuelson & Co.
Honesty Chambers
Isabelle Fomukong
Jing & Partners
Lamango, Awono & Associates
Laurent Dongmo
Legal Power Law Firm
Mandessi Bell Law
Ndikum Law Offices
Ndikum Law Offices
Ngu & Co.
Nico Halle & Co.
Roland Abeng
SCP Global Africa
Tanyi mbi & Partners
Tatang, Tayuka & Co.
Yumbitatang Law Chambers & Solicitors, The