Section Description Provided by Instructor
The Course is open to Upper Class students in the Law School, studying for the JSD, LLM and JD, and at SIPA, as well as graduate students in other relevant disciplines. There are no other limitations.
Method of evaluation:
Evaluation will be on the basis of a comprehensive research paper submitted at the end of the Semester on a pre-approved topic, a mid-term paper on a subject from selected topics, and class participation. The research paper will account for 75% of total marks; the mid-term paper and class participation will account for 25%.
Major or Minor writing credits may be earned for a research paper graded B or above, subject to Faculty Rules.
This course is a study of the structure and content of the African Legal Systems and the role of domestic law and international law and institutions on the social and economic development of African countries. The African Legal System consists, primarily, of the underlying traditional or customary laws under which the majority of Africans live, foreign laws imported by the predominant colonial powers, England and France and International Law which impacts on the Constitutional and Economic legal order. The dual system of courts introduced during colonialism ensured that foreign law applied exclusively to the foreigners and was administered by courts manned by colonial judges and magistrates, leaving the local population to be governed, in civil matters, by a form of sensitized customary law applied by native courts, but subject to administrative and judicial review by the High Court. The criminal law was a form of codified metropolitan criminal law adjusted for easy enforcement in the colonies to the local inhabitants without exception but with certain allowances, to expatriates as well. Following independence, these laws and the established courts administering them have remained virtually intact although a few countries have attempted to unify the court system. The development of African Constitutions borrowed heavily from the basic principles of constitutional law applicable in the former colonial powers and suffered after independence from the shocks of military interventions. Subsequently, the growing corps of International Human Rights Law, enshrined in the United Nations Covenants as well as other Treaties to which these countries are parties, has influenced constitutional reforms. The applicable law also includes a large core of commercial law largely influenced by imported foreign law with necessary adjustments to meet Treaty obligations and other requirements resulting from membership in the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies and other International and Regional Organizations. The materials assembled for this course are selected with a view to highlight the diversity of laws applicable in Africa and the tensions likely to emerge from the competing values and policies underlying these laws. Students in the class will, using these materials, as a point of reference, review the state of the law and judicial regimes of these countries and make suggestions for appropriate reforms, as necessary.
T 4:20 –7:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (upon consultation), Major (only upon consultation)