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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Administrative litigation in francophone Africa: the rule of prior exhaustion of internal remedies
Author:Anyangwe, CarlsonISNI
Periodical:African Journal of International and Comparative Law
Geographic term:French-speaking Africa
Subject:administrative law
External link:https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/afjincol8&id=824&collection=journals&index=journals/afjincol
Abstract:Under the administrative law of francophone African States, any person affected by an administrative wrong is entitled to seek judicial relief. However, a fruitless prior complaint by the person aggrieved to the appropriate government official is a preliminary requirement for lodging a claim before the administrative court. This is known as 'the rule of prior complaint', that is the rule of prior exhaustion of internal or 'domestic' remedies. The present article describes the operation and analyses the legal effect and rationale of this basic procedural rule in administrative litigation in francophone Africa. The rule was presumably conceived as a technical device for ensuring that only grievances against the administration which are meritorious and which would not have been satisfactorily addressed by the administration itself would reach the courts for judicial settlement. However, the operation of the rule in practice has had the untoward effect of effectively discouraging suits against the administration. The author contends that the general disinclination of citizens to prosecute the executive for any malfeasance or nonfeasance can be attributed to an unwarrantedly excessive and rigid adherence by the court to prescribed time limits; a narrow or restrictive judicial interpretation of the rule of prior complaint; and the limited effect of administrative court decisions, itself due to the very wide discretionary powers of the administration in francophone African States. Notes, ref.