Building Legal Certainty Through International Law: OHADA Law in Cameroon

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This paper aims to understand how international legal harmonisation impacts legal certainty in countries where most of the economy is informal by examining how OHADA laws have been applied in Cameroon. It describes how the OHADA laws were developed internationally and applied locally and how the actors in two spheres collaborated with each other. The application of OHADA law in Cameroon showed that the international and regional partners’ financial and organisational support is crucial for allowing motivated local legal actors to organize and collaborate to get the majority of the legal profession to join them in their reform efforts. The first lawyers to join the reform are more likely motivated by ideological reasons whereas those joining in later have potentially more material reasons. This study also shows that the mere existence of up-to-date and well-crafted business laws is not enough for enhancing legal certainty if application in courts remains uncertain. Hence for the OHADA legal harmonisation to have a wider impact on legal certainty, economic actors in OHADA member states need to have access to a more reliable justice system corresponding to certain technical standards.

Last modified
  • 01/03/2019
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  • 11-005
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