By Chris Mbunwe
The Northwest Lawyers Association has warned the Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso, against appointing Francophone Notaries in Southwest and Northwest Regions. The lawyers sent the stern warning after a meeting over the weekend in Bamenda, to the Minister who, they claim, is planning to appoint Francophone Notaries to work in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon.
Talking exclusively to The Post, the Vice President of the Northwest Lawyers Association, Barrister Ben Suh Fuh, said, apart from the hint they have received that the Minister will appoint Francophone Notaries to English-speaking Regions, there is another move by the Minister, to carry out the promulgation or translation of the Civil Procedure Code which is the “archaic” 1804 Napoleonic Code of France, which has long been abandoned by the French Government.
“We of the Northwest Lawyers Association are saying that this code is not only archaic, outdated; it has not been presented to the Bar Council for Lawyers to study.
This is a complete deviation of our bi-jural system meant at eradicating the Common Law system, which is the traditional law in application in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
“If this law is promulgated, it goes contrary to the Constitution of Cameroon which recognises the bi-jural system of our country. If it were to be promulgated, then, the Common Law system has been killed and buried,” Barrister Suh Fuh stated. As to the appointment of Notaries, Suh Fuh argued that Article 66 organising practice at the Bar be read: “Lawyers of the Northwest and Southwest shall practice as Notaries.”
Suh Fuh said the reasons why they have taken this position are because lawyers of these two Regions have been practicing the Notary Profession without any problems and “… there are already Notaries in these Regions and cannot be stopped or denied to perform these functions.”
He warned that any attempt to seize these functions from them “will be tantamount not only to the violation of the Constitution that talks of our bi-jural, but equally contravene the principle of non retrospectivity of the law. “Any attempt to appoint other Notaries, particularly of Francophone extraction, will be tantamount to what Northwest and Southwest shall never tolerate,” Fuh Suh cautioned.