ADVOCATES OF THE CAMEROON BAR / OAPI ACCREDITED PATENT AND TRADEMARK ATTORNEYS / AGENTS
Litigation in certain parts of Cameroon such as the big towns is slow and expensive rather in time and incidental expenses than in real judicial / court fees. Apart from Civil and Commercial matters where parties are required to pay filing fees and pay a deposit of 5 % of any monetary claims, one can say that justice is rendered free of charge and accessible to all. It is worth noting that a lot of effort is currently being made to decongest the Courts in the big Towns by building more Courts and training more Judges. However, because Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution are still not well implanted in Cameroon litigation is still the most recommended manner of settling disputes. A Foreign Lawyer seeking to enforce a foreign judgment in Cameroon would have to seek and obtain an exequatur order. Rules governing such orders are set out in a series of bilateral and multilateral Treaties and Conventions some of which include; the Treaty setting up the Organization of Business Law in Africa, of 17 October 1993, it's Uniform Acts, The Corporation Accord on Judicial Matters signed between Cameroon and France on 21 February 1974 etc.
COSTS OF LITIGATION
The general rule on costs is that each party bears his or her own costs. However, at the end of litigation, the Court normally orders the loser to reimburse the winner's court fees. Legal fees are, as a general principle not recoverable. In certain parts of Cameroon where principles of Common Law are applicable, the Courts are allowed to judiciously exercise inherent discretionary power by ordering punitive costs against any party for reasons as varied as default and abuse of Court Process. Because of judicial delays and the varied nature of the workload of the Courts handling Commercial disputes it is difficult to say how long Commercial disputes usually take to be heard. This is further complicated by the fact that there are 2 different procedural rules applicable in the Country. The Civil procedure rules, styled after the Common Law Civil procedure rules applicable in the English speaking part of Cameroon, require the ordering of pleadings and a trial, while the “Procedure Civile et Commerciale,” styled after French Civil Procedure is based mainly on written submissions and the presentation of supporting documents. On the overrule it would take at least 12 months for a Civil or Commercial dispute to be heard at First Instance and about another 12 months for it to be heard on appeal. There is currently a harmonized Criminal Procedure Code applicable in the whole country.