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Faculty of Law, Business & Economics

Chair of African Legal Studies – Prof. Dr. Thoko Kaime

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The Chair of African Legal Studies aims to utilize its place and mission to advocate a number of important and urgent issues relating to governance, human rights and environmental sustainability. This pillar of impact realises itself through different practices, such as court opinions, expert reports or specific advocacy projects.

The Chair shares its’ knowledge and experiences in expert reports to organisations, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Past reviews can be found here.

The Chair has specific advocacy projects, such as currently the Constitutional Review in Somalia. Since its entry into force in 2012, the provisional Constitution has provided a framework for governance and shaping statehood in Somalia. It sets out the basic structure of the state and its institutions. However, the provisional Constitution comes with a number of weaknesses, such as the lack of a precise distribution of powers and responsibilities between the federal states and the federal government. Overall, the basic ideas of the provisional Constitution of political parties, territorial constituencies and an effective check and balances system have not been achieved. In the past, this has led to coordination issues and even open conflicts. The absence or dysfunctionality of certain safeguarding mechanisms, such as a stable and reliable constitutional jurisdiction and, with regard to the acceptance of the population, the absence of functioning guaran tees of justice, have caused the provisions of the Constitution to run into the void in many areas. In view of these challenges, the new presidency under Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has set out to initiate a constitutional review to address the current weaknesses of the Constitution. This process will be based on Article 137 of the provisional Constitution, which provides for a referendum at the end of such a review process. Additionally, this includes an agreement on the structure of federalism as well as safeguarding laws, such as the revision of the electoral law and the creation of a Federal Constitutional Court Act.

Current Advocacy

The chair provides expertise on the reform of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia in the form of the project "Somalisation of the Constitution: A Concept for a combined Federalism Dialogue and Constitutional Review in Somalia".

Court Opinions

The Chair of African Legal Studies regularly provides expert opinions and reviews for European courts and authorities in cases with reference to African legal systems. In these cases, the Chair can draw not only on its own expertise, but also on a very broad network across the continent. Corresponding requests can be sent to africanlegalstudies@uni-bayreuth.de.

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