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Copyright (c) 2010 Tulane University School of Law
The Tulane European and Civil Law Forum

ARTICLE: OHADA on the Ground: Harmonizing Business Laws in Three Dimensions


The Tulane European and Civil Law Forum

25 Tul. Eur. & Civ. L.F. 103


Claire Moore Dickerson*


I. Introduction
The classic comparative discussion pits common law against civil law; there are many opportunities to effect this analysis in the post- colonial environment that so frequently results in a hybrid formal law. The traditional analysis does not consider, however, the impact of the formal laws on the most significant portion of a developing country's economy: its informal sector. This is not a trivial issue as it determines what laws are needed to facilitate business: to achieve the same outcomes, formal business law applied in the informal sector will necessarily be different from the formal law applicable to the formal sector.

The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Laws (OHADA), 1 is a supranational system of business laws that, as implemented in the Anglophone region of Cameroon, offers both comparisons (plus an issue of translation). This region's formal law is in the common law tradition, but OHADA is civil law based, and Cameroon is a developing country with an extensive informal sector. Thus, OHADA displays three levels of mixity. First, OHADA law is supranational; as we will see, it becomes part of the internal law of each member state but still retains supranational characteristics. That is the first dimension. Second, OHADA being at least partially French-inspired, exemplifies the traditional civil law interaction with common law comparison; that's the second dimension. Third, because of its locale, it simultaneously illustrates the integration of European and customary laws; that's the third dimension.

OHADA business laws ...
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