State Universities: New Law Departments Created

The Minister of Higher Education, Chancellor of Academic Orders, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, has signed a series of texts creating new Law Departments in some State Universities. According to the texts, the two Angloxason universities of Buea and Bamenda now have the departments of French Private Law. The newly created departments in the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Bamenda and the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences of the University of Buea will be subdivided into many units and laboratories with respect to existing specialisation upon proposal of the respective Vice Chancellors.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Higher Education, in separate texts also created the Departments of English Law in the universities of Douala, Dschang, Maroua and Ngaoundere. The decision to create these new departments of French Private Law and English Law in State universities is part of government resolve to provide solutions to concerns raised by the Common Law lawyers in the two-English speaking regions of the country. In the following interview, Prof Jacques Fame Ndongo gives details on the new departments and their functioning.

Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo: “Our History Is Characterised By A Double Heritage” 

Minister of Higher Education

What justifies the creation of English Law and French Private Law Departments in certain Cameroonian State Universities?

In reaction to the grievances raised by some Anglophone Lawyers’ Trade Unions and in keeping with the highest instructions of the President of the Republic, Head of State, several working sessions of an Inter-ministerial Committee (MINJUSTICE, MINESUP, MINFOPRA, MINFI) were held under the Chairmanship of the Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals at the end of which several recommendations were made for the highest appreciation of the Head of State.

The Head of State thereafter handed down the instruction that departments of English Law be created in the Faculties of Laws and Political Sciences of the Universities of Maroua, Ngaoundere, Douala and Dschang, and of French Private Law in the Faculty of Laws and Political Science of the University of Bamenda and in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences of the University of Buea. 

After these Universities, shall the others benefit from this measure as well?

It is important to note that State Universities each have their respective missions and vacations assigned to them by their decree of organisation. Those Universities in which these departments were not created do not have Faculties of Law and Political Science nor do they have training programs in the domain of Law. This is particularly the case with the University of Yaounde I which does not have the faculty concerned with this decision. It is necessary to precise that the University of Yaounde II is not involved in this measure because a Faculty of Law and Political Science exist therein and these departments are already operational in that Faculty. However, whenever the need arises, some Universities could be reorganised with the creation of a Faculty of Laws and Political Science. It is only within this context that such departments could be created for them as well.

What explains these decisions?

Our political and constitutional history is characterised by a double heritage. The Cameroonian State experienced on the one hand an English Administration and on the other hand a French Administration. The legacy of these two States is a biculturalism which has a fundamental impact on our languages and judicial cultures which has a dual character. It is logical that this judicial dualism should determine all training programs in the domain of Law in Cameroon, be it in State Universities of French Speaking zones of our country or in State Universities of the English speaking areas of Cameroon.

Following the observation we made and after evaluating these training programs, we thought it was necessary to take all measures necessary to put in place structures that would ascertain complete and adequate training programs (Common Law and French Law) in the domain of law in our country in spite of the University in which the student is registered.

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