Skip to Main Content

Africa: sub-Saharan jurisdictions: Customary law in Africa

Subjects: Law - Foreign Law

"Repugnancy Test"

Supreme Court Ordinance of 1876 of the Colony of Lagos.

Nothing in this Ordinance shall deprive the Supreme Court of the right to observe and enforce the observance, or shall deprive any person of the benefit, of any law or custom existing in the said Colony and Territories subject to its jurisdiction, such law or custom not being repugnant to natural justice, equity and good consciousness, nor incompatible either directly or by necessary implication with any enactment of the Colonial Legislature existing at the commencement of this Ordinance, or which may afterwards come into operation

Colonial Period History of Law in Africa

Customary law in Africa

Subject search SOLO

Customary law -- Africa 

Law, Primitive -- Africa

Law and anthropology

Legal polycentricity

Restatement Project & its Impact

The Restatement of African Law Project (RALP), 1959 - c1970 headed by Antony (Tony) Allott (SOAS) " ... to facilitate, undertake and assist in the recording of customary laws in Commonwealth African countries in a systematic legal fashion (the choice of the term “restatement” having been influenced by the restatements of American common law)."  Cotran E, “Tony Allott, Pioneer of the Study of African Law: A Personal Memoir” (1987) 31 Journal of African Law 15

RALP volumes held in the Law Bod

Cotran, The law of marriage and divorce. Cw Kenya 510 R436 (1)
Cotran, The law of succession Cw Kenya 510 R436 (2)
Ibik,The law of land, succession, movable property, agreements and civil wrongs Cw Malawi 510 R436 (2)
Ibik,The law of marriage and divorce Cw Malawi 510 R436 (1)
Kludze, Ewe law of property Cw Ghana 510 R436 (1)
Roberts, Tswana family law Cw Botswana 510 R436 (5)

Cass Library of African Law Series
Cory & Hartnoll, Customary law of the Haya tribe, Tanganyika Territory Cw Tang 510 C833
Cotran, Readings in African law  General 510 C845a (2 vols)
Mair, African marriage and social change     General 510 M228a

Butterworths African Law Series
Allott, Judicial and legal systems in Africa (2nd edn, 1970) Cw Gen 510 A441b2
Allott New Essays in African Law (1970) Cw Gen 510 A441c
Bennion The constitutional law of Ghana.Cw Ghana 510 B472
Ekow Daniels, The Common Law of West Africa; Cw Gen 510 D186
Farran,Matrimonial laws of the Sudan : being a study of the divergent religious and civil laws in an African society.Sudan 510 F241
Haydon, Law and justice in Buganda Cw Uganda 510 H416
Kasunmu & Salacuse, Nigerian Family Law.Cw Nigeria 510 K19
Nwabueze, Machinery of Justice in Nigeria Cw Nigeria 510 N992a
Nwabueze,Constitutional Law of the Nigerian Republic Cw Nigeria 510 N992b
Obi, Ibo Law of Property Cw Nigeria 510 O12a
Rudd, The Nigerian law of evidence  Cw Nigeria 510 R914

Twining The place of customary law in the national legal systems of East Africa : lectures delivered at the University of Chicago Law School in April-May, 1963 Cw E Afr 510 T973a