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African Legal Research: Introduction

African Legal Systems

The legal systems in most African countries are a complex mix of common law, civil law, customary law, and religious law systems.

The map below indicates which systems apply in each African country.

See Customary Law in Africa for information relating to customary law (Source: The Law Library of Congress).

See the Globalex guide Religious Legal Systems in Comparative Law: A Guide to Introductory Research for an introduction to religious legal systems.

Source: JuriGlobe - World Legal Systems Research Group

Introduction to Legal Systems

The African Union

The African Union (AU) is a union of 54 African states, established on 9 July 2002. Morocco is the only all-African state that is not a member of the AU.

The AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The organs of the AU are:

  • The Assembly of Heads of State and Government (which is the supreme organ of the AU)
  • The Executive Council
  • The Commission
  • The Permanent Representatives' Committee
  • Peace and Security Council (PSC)
  • Pan-African Parliament
  • The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)
  • The Court of Justice
  • The Specialised Technical Committees
  • Financial Institutions (The African Central Bank, The African Monetary Fund, The African Investment Bank)


Latest African Legal News

Legal news feed from the Global Legal Monitor at the Library of Congress

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General Databases for Secondary Sources