Find Legal expertise in Sierra Leone
- Legal System
The court structure of Sierra Leone is broadly based on a four tier system comprising of the magistrates’ courts, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction in constitutional matters. The president appoints the Chief Justice who presides over the Supreme Court. The High Court hears the most serious civil and criminal cases. Appeals from magistrates’ courts are heard by the High Court, whereas the Court of Appeal deals with appeals from the High Court and certain special courts. In 2000 the Anti-Corruption Commission was established under the Anti-Corruption Act. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up by the UN and the Sierra Leone government to deal with cases of crimes against humanity following the decade long civil war which came to an end in 2002.
Legal practitioners in Sierra Leone are styled as barristers (sometimes barristers-at-law) or solicitors and can practice in both fields. The Sierra Leone Bar Association is the main regulatory body for the country and is a member of the International Bar Association. It is the oldest Bar Association in sub-Saharan Africa.
Legal training in Sierra Leone is provided exclusively by the Sierra Leone Law School in association with the Council of Legal Education (CLE). Upon completion of legal training, which consists of the academic stage, examinations and professional legal training, the CLE issues a Certificate for Call to the Bar. Since 1990 the CLE has issued certificates both to LLB graduates from the Sierra Leone Law School or from a recognised institution from any Commonwealth country approved by the CLE.
As a result of high levels of interest in the Special Court for Sierra Leone from law students and newly qualified lawyers, internship programmes dealing with all aspects of the court’s work have been made available.
Top law firms in Sierra Leone include Basma & Macaulay, CLAS Legal Solicitors and Renner-Thomas & Co.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
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