The Formative Stages of Common Law in South Sudan: The Ensuing Consequences for the Judiciary

24 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2014

See all articles by Kuyang Logo

Kuyang Logo

University of Juba, College of Law

Date Written: June 3, 2014


The article analyses South Sudan’s adoption of the English common Law system during the third year of the interim period in 2007 and into the first two years of independence, 2011 to 2013. The discussion herein focus on the instantaneous adoption of common law, and highlights the struggles of the Judiciary with capacity gaps, language barrier, lack of proper infrastructure and the application of a multiplicity of legal systems.

The article offers an analysis of the fusion of customary law with the newly adopted statutory system as one of the major constraints that compounded the challenges faced by the Judiciary, and offers suggestions on how the Judiciary of South Sudan should have dealt with customary law before adopting the common law system in haste. The article offers a comparative analysis of Rwanda, an East African Country, which emerged from crisis and adopted the English Common Law -- the Rwandan approach to the transition offers a view point for South Sudan on how the transition should have been initiated.

Rwanda's approach provided for a phase out period of the old system, and merged the civil and common law to create a hybrid system with the ultimate goal of subsequently adopting a common law system. An appreciation of challenges is laid out in the preceding chapters to allow readers to comprehend the approaches of Rwanda in overcoming the constraints faced while steadily working towards a legal system that is acceptable to all Rwandans. The Rwandan system has been viewed as functional, and transformed the Rwanda legal system into a model that South Sudan can emulate while undertaking legal reforms within its Judiciary.

Keywords: South Sudan's Adoption of the English Common Law system, amidst pending customary law reforms, Ensuing consequences for the Judiciary

JEL Classification: K49

Suggested Citation

Logo, Harriet, The Formative Stages of Common Law in South Sudan: The Ensuing Consequences for the Judiciary (June 3, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Harriet Logo (Contact Author)

University of Juba, College of Law ( email )

College of Law
South Sudan

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