Each Court has a stipendiary magistrate with two associate magistrates. A stipendiary magistrate is supposed to be a qualified lawyer, while the associate magistrates are not required to be qualified. Justices of the Peace. The Legal System. The Legal System in Liberia is a dual one of statutory law based on Anglo American Common law for the modern sector and customary law based on unwritten customary practices for the indigenous people.
The Primary Sources of Law in Liberia are:. The Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. According to Article 2 of the Constitution, all laws and decisions by the state institutions must be in strict conformity with the Constitution.
According to Article 91 of the Constitution, the initiative to amend the Constitution may come from either two-thirds of the membership of both the Senate and House of Representatives or a petition submitted for approval to the Legislature by not fewer than 10, ten thousand citizens. The Republic of Liberia has had two Constitutions.
The first was the Constitution which was suspended on April 12, , following the coup d'etat which overthrew the presidency of H. William R. Tolbert, Jr. On July 3, , the constitution was submitted to a national referendum and approved. The current Constitution can be accessed online at the following website: ministry of information of the Republic of Liberia website at www. The Liberia Constitution can also be found at www. The ultimate legislator in the Republic of Liberia is the bicameral national assembly.
Article 35 of the Constitution outlines the process for the passage of Bills in the Legislature. Specifically, Article 29 states that both houses must pass on all legislation. Article 89 of the Constitution establishes three 3 independent bodies. These are independent bodies with specific powers. These powers are entrenched in their respective laws.
The legislature is responsible for enacting laws for the governing of these Commissions. The National Elections website provides links to election laws and regulations. Article 92 of the Constitution mentions the publication of an Official Gazette in Liberia. Delegated Legislation. A wide variety of bodies, from government departments through local authorities and public corporations to private corporations, can be entrusted with powers by the legislature to implement and administer the requirements of the law. This is a collection of published Acts adopted by the legislature of Liberia.
The Constitution of Liberia recognizes customary law. Therefore, customs are a recognized source of law in Liberia. See Article 2 of the Constitution. The Rules and Regulations Governing Local Government officials of the Political Sub-Divisions of Liberia Revised Edition provide a procedural framework for the adjudication of customary law cases. Local Commissions and Superintendents perform the functions of executive oversight over customary law in Liberia.
Case law can serve as a source of law or it can help to interpret the law. According to Article 66 of the Constitution, judgments of the Supreme Court are final and binding and shall not be subject to appeal or review by any other branch of government. Legal Education. The law school is a graduate school at the University. For more on this please see the following website: www. The law school offers two programs for attaining a Bachelor of Laws Degree - three 3 years morning Program and 5 years evening Program. For more information on the requirements, curriculum, etc.
Upon completion of their course of study, a Bar examination has to be successfully completed.
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This results in admission to the Bar with permission to practice in the lower courts. These are the Magisterial and Justice of the Peace courts. After at least three years of practice as an Attorney of Law, another bar examination can be taken to allow admittance to practice in the Supreme Court of Liberia and to be considered a Counselor at Law. The Legal Profession.
There is also the Association of Female Lawyers in Liberia. International treaties signed and ratified by the State of Liberia have to be domesticated for them to have the force of law in the country. This means that in order to become part of the national legal system or order, international treaties have to be approved and adopted by the legislature. Liberia consequently declared the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.
According to Article 57 of the Constitution, the President is empowered to conclude treaties, conventions and similar international agreements with the concurrence of a majority of both the Senate and the House of Representative. It is further provided in Article 34 d iii b. The President of the Republic signs international treaties on behalf of the State, but the legislature has to approve them. These Law Reports are available in hard copies. Liberian Statutes can be accessed online. The most detailed list of these statutes can be found at the University of Cornell Law Library.
The Secondary sources of law are the Liberian Law Reports. Publication started in This is a scholarly journal that publishes original research on social, political, economic, scientific and other issues about Liberia or with implications for Liberia. The law library of Congress is also a comprehensive source of information on Liberia including links to various other websites.
Customary Law and Slavery in West Africa
Please see www. Table of Contents 1. In This Article I. The Transformation into Western Forms 1. The Reduction of Oral Traditions to Writing 2. The Nature of Oral Law 3.
The Effects of Writing 4. Legal Terminology IV. The Development of Legal Anthropology 1. Evolutionism 2. Functionalism V. The Shift to Process and Disputes 1. Acephalous and State Societies 2. The Importance of Social Relationships 3. Wrongdoing in Customary Law VI. Decolonization and its Aftermath 1. Decolonization 2. Disillusionment and Marxist Theory 3. Legal Pluralism 1. Centralism and the Pluralist Critique 2.
In the Caribbean, the expansion in the number and size of the plantations was most rapid in the English, French, Dutch and Danish colonies during the 18 th century, while Brazil and Cuba peaked in the 19 th century.
The slave imports did not only fuel expansion, they also allowed the two plantation zones with slaves to offset the natural decline which was due to the high mortality. The only exception to this rule was North America, where the slave population experienced strong demographic growth, similar to that of the free population. As the above table shows, all regions along the coast of West Africa participated in the Atlantic slave trade, but there were substantial shifts over time.
The other extreme was the South-Eastern coast of Africa. As can be seen on the map, the area closest to the New World, Senegambia, provided only a relatively small number of slaves. This is indicative of the market for slaves in Africa, where the Africans decided how many slaves they wanted to sell, where they wanted to sell them, as well as their sex and age structure. The Europeans preferred able-bodied adult men as workers in the New World, but they had to conform to African norms and values and were forced to buy many more women and children than was normal among the free migrants to the New World.
Customary Law and Slavery in West Africa - Rosalie Akouele Abbey - axuhurajowoj.gq books
The mortality among the slaves ferried across the Atlantic was high, but declined over time especially on slave ships from England. Also, mortality varied according to the port of embarkation suggesting that slaves arrived on the coast in a physical condition that varied widely. As prices increased, it became profitable to extend the catchment area and when slaves originated further into the interior, the number of days that the slaves had to walk to the coast increased and which badly affected their physical condition.
In times of drought and hunger, forcing African slave owners to sell some of their slaves into the Atlantic slave trade, the physical condition of the slaves also left much to be desired. Having a doctor on board reduced mortality somewhat, but this reduction declined during the 19 th century, when many slaves were transported in illegal slavers without previous physical selection and without the services of a physician during the voyage.
The slave trade on the African coast could be conducted in three ways.
When a slave ship from Europe, Brazil or North America arrived on the African coast, it could sail to one of the forts on the coast, preferably under the same flag as that of the ship. The commanders of such forts, as well as the African traders living in the vicinity, usually held a stock of slaves allowing the captain of the slave ship to arrive quickly at the number of slaves he intended to buy in total. However, this method was expensive as a substantial part of the trade goods brought from Europe had to be paid as commission to these intermediaries.
Another way of buying slaves involved renting a piece of land on the shore from the local ruler on which a temporary shed would be constructed. These sheds served both as a temporary warehouse for trade goods as well as a market, where the African brokers would bring their slaves for sale. At the end of each day, the newly-bought slaves would be ferried to the ship and housed in its hold. The third and most used method for buying slaves was to sail along the coast and invite the African brokers with their slaves to come aboard. Usually the brokers arrived only with a few slaves at the time, so this method could increase the time spent on the African coast to well over a year before the captain had obtained a sufficient number of slaves to make the crossing worthwhile.
As slaves were not consenting passengers, probably about one in ten slaving voyages experienced a major rebellion, usually when the ship was still in sight of the African coast. This is why slave ships carried a larger crew than was strictly necessary for sailing the ship and more weaponry than was usual on other merchantmen. This reduced the growth of the slave trade, as higher costs meant higher prices and fewer buyers. In addition, the rebellions influenced the ethnic composition of the Atlantic slave trade as slave ships along the coast of Senegambia, the Windward Coast and Sierra Leone experienced more rebellions than ships buying slaves elsewhere.
In much of the older literature, the trip from Africa to the New World was usually described as the most lethal part of the voyage. The slaves were held in unsanitary conditions in the hold of the ship and could only spend a short time on deck, well shackled, weather permitting.
T. W. Bennett
As the trip from Africa to the New World, the so-called Middle Passage, could take six to eight weeks, the weakest slaves aboard pregnant women and children ran a high risk of dying and this certainly applied to small infants and children. More recently, however, it has been pointed out that the middle passage was only a part of a much longer ordeal because most slaves had to walk to the coast, and as this distance became longer over time, the mortality in Africa increased and the condition in which the slaves arrived aboard deteriorated. A similar mechanism increased the mortality of the crew.
The slave ships spent an increasing amount of time sailing along the coast, and this extended the exposure of the crew to tropical diseases. The weak physical condition of both slaves and crew explains why there were not more shipboard rebellions. During the last decades of the eighteenth century the number of popular voices opposing the slave trade increased, especially in Great Britain and the US, where new religious communities such as the Quakers, Baptists and Methodists started a campaign to outlaw the slave trade and slavery.
In spite of the economic advantages of the slave trade, their campaign met with success in , when a majority in both houses of the British parliament voted in favour of a law to make the slave trade illegal for British subjects as per March 1, However, as can be seen from table I, the slave trade continued to the end of the 19 th century under the flags of those countries that had not outlawed the slave trade or in circumvention of these laws.
Because of the expansion of plantation agriculture, especially in Brazil and Cuba, the prices for slaves continued to rise in the New World allowing for higher profits, and this stimulated illegal slave traders to take greater risks and to invest in faster sailing vessels. Also, the slave trade within Africa increased as the suppression of the Atlantic trade lowered the price of slaves in Africa itself allowing more Africans to become slave owners.