International Research Collaboratives

The Future of Law in Africa


Nkatha Kabira, Rabiat Akande, Penelope Andrews

It is arguable that the colonial state in Africa was never dismantled at independence; it proceeded (albeit with marginally symbolic changes). In other words, there was exchange, and not change. Hence, it has remained difficult to dismantle the legacies of colonialism to pursue the emancipatory goals envisioned by independent movements. In addition, the Cold War had enormous consequences for the development of democracy in Africa, and those legacies continue to bedevil many societies today.  This International Research Collaborative revisits debates at the London Conference on the Future of Law in Africa and seeks to: 1. To catalyze innovative discourses on the future of law in Africa; 2. Provide a platform for scholars from different disciplines, in different stages in their careers to think through the different tools, techniques, and strategies that have been used in different parts of Africa to catalyze interdisciplinary legal studies; 3. Through the lens of commissions, examine efforts by African states to resolve governance challenges; 4. To build a successful Global Research Consortium on African Law; and Generate knowledge for use by scholars from different disciplines, policymakers, NGOs, civil society organizations, governments, commissioners, and local communities in Africa.  The IRC takes up two key areas: 1.African Jurisprudence  Is a distinctly African jurisprudence possible? What would this jurisprudence entail? 2. The Law of Commissions in Africa: How Commissions are challenging Law’s Rigidity.  This IRC discusses the extent to which the Law of Commissions disrupts the vision of the future of law encapsulated in the London Conference.


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