Lawyers in the North West Region are on strike as court activities are paralyzed in the region with the lawyers protesting against a bill tabled in parliament on the use of the English and French languages in court rooms across the regions.

They used this strike action to send their disapproval on the draft bill on languages which they say section 26 states that judgement can be delivered in a Cameroonian court in any of the 2 languages which will mean that in the common-law jurisdiction judgments can be delivered in French and in the civil law jurisdiction it can be delivered in English which they say brings back memories of 2016 when they took to the streets to clean the common law system of the French language and officials.

The say they are disappointed by this draft bill owing to the fact that they were expecting something more given the fact that the 2 English speaking regions are expected to have a special statue in place as one of the fallouts of the just ended major national dialogue. Adding that they can’t standby without denouncing such an injustice.

They said they have it from some sources that the draft bill has been suspended at the level of the parliament but they say they will be vigilant.
Anglophone Lawyers in Cameroon in 2016 took to the streets of some major capitals of The North West and South West Regions protesting that the OHADA Text be translated to English and all non-English speaking magistrates in common-law courts be transferred to civil law court given the language barrier which makes court proceedings difficult. A move which was joined by the teachers sparking the start of the anglophone crisis.

When did the Anglophone Crisis started

Common law lawyers of Anglophone Cameroons were said to have written an appeal letter to the government over the use of French in schools and courtrooms in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. In an effort to protect the English culture, they began a sit-down strike in all courtrooms on October 6, 2016.

The protests began on October 6, 2016 as a sit-down strike initiated by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), an organization consisting of lawyer and teacher trade unions from the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The strike was led by Barrister Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and Tassang Wilfred.

Common law lawyers of Anglophone Cameroons were said to have written an appeal letter to the government over the use of French in schools and courtrooms in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. In an effort to protect the English culture, they began a sit-down strike in all courtrooms on October 6, 2016. Peaceful protests began with marches in the cities of Bamenda, Buea, and Limbe calling for the protection of the common law system in Anglophone Cameroon. They asked for the common law system to be practiced in Anglophone courts and not the civil law used by the French-speaking magistrate. Laws such as the OHADA uniform acts, CEMAC code, and others should be translated into English.

They also asked that the common law system of education in Anglophone universities such as the University of Buea and the University of Bamenda should be addressed by the creation of a law school. The government responded by sending security forces to fire tear gas and allegedly assault protesters and lawyers. During November 2016 thousands of teachers in the Anglophone regions joined the lawyers to protect English culture in Anglophone Cameroon, asking that the French language not be used in schools and courtrooms in English-speaking regions of Cameroon. All schools were shut down in the Anglophone regions, only two months and three weeks after the start of 2016/2017 academic year.

By John Paul Sama