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- Legal System
The Namibian constitution provides for independence of the judiciary and promotes fundamental human rights and freedoms. The legal system is based on constitutional law, Roman-Dutch law, common law and customary law. Common law and customary law are second to constitutional law. The court structure is based on a three-tier system comprising of the lower and magistrates’ courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is presided over by the Chief Justice and is both the final court of appeal and the constitutional court.
Lawyers are styled as ‘legal practitioners’ although the terms ‘lawyer’, ‘advocate’ and ‘attorney’ are commonly used. Previous to the Legal Practitioners Act (1995), there was official differentiation between advocates and attorneys. Dual practice is now permitted under Namibian law so legal practitioners who previously acted as attorneys can represent their clients in a court of law provided they hold a Fidelity Fund Certificate. However, practitioners who wish to continue to act as advocates, or new practitioners who intend to follow this route, specialise and are exempted from holding the certificate. The difference between legal practitioner and advocate can be thought of in terms of general practitioner and specialist.
The Law Society of Namibia is the professional body and is a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. The Society of Advocates of Namibia is a member of the International Bar Association. It is a disciplinary body and represents all private lawyers practicing in Namibia, in 2012 numbering some 40 members.
To practise as a lawyer in Namibia a person must possess a recognised law degree, have passed or be exempt from the Legal Practitioners’ Qualifying Examination and have undergone practical training. Further courses which enable future lawyers to sit the Namibian Bar examination are offered by the Justice Training Centre (JTC). The two main institutions offering courses in Law are the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia. In accordance with the Legal Practitioners Act foreign lawyers are permitted to practice in Namibia according to certain stipulations.
Prominent firms operating in the country include Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc, Ellis Shilengudwa Inc, Engling, Stritter & Partners, Hanno Bossau & Co, Koep & Partners and;Lorentz Angula Incorporated.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
Legal rights index
Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes
Efficiency of legal framework in challenging regulations
Property rights (including financial assets)
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