Administration of Justice in West Africa: Commercial relations in the colonial courts during the era of legitimate trade (1850-1930)


The aim of this research is to examine processes of normative production, the transfer of British legal institutions and the attitude of the new English style courts towards commercial relations in the palm oil trade in West Africa. This study aims to provide a legal historical account of the events that characterized West African commerce and British merchant capitalism on frontiers of trade and in the administration of the colony after the transatlantic slave trade. It will fill the gap in the existing literature that does not comprehensively address the interaction between the transferred English legal institutions and legitimate commerce. Ultimately, it looks at West African trade in the post-abolition Atlantic economy and addresses the normative framework regarding commerce in the colonial era.

It aims to understand how the normative framework pertaining to commercial relations developed from the era of the courts of equity to the period of formal English legal systems. At the onset, this research will take into account historical, legal, economic and political aspects. It aims not only to present key research findings with analysis but also contextualise them thematically, theoretically and with a view to assessing possible avenues for the next phase of research in the field.

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