The Judiciary in Federal Systems in Africa

Eight states in Africa that have federal or federal-type government systems and most of these federations emerged in the post-Cold War period. The African federations are in various degrees characterised by a limited extent of self-rule and the concentration of power at the centre. The question this article addresses is whether, and if so, how, the federal character of the state organisation impacts on the administration of justice. In other words, is the judicial branch of government also part of the federal arrangements, and if so, how has that been manifested? Four sub-questions are posed in this regard. First, does the structure of the judicial institutions also follow the vertical division of powers between the central and subnational governments? Secondly, given the non-centrist or centrist structure of the courts, how are judges appointed? Thirdly, as language and ethnic diversity are often the key reasons for the establishment of federal arrangements, how is the language question dealt within in the administration of justice? Finally, what role have the courts played in realisation of the federal character of the state?
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