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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Central African Republic: Center for International Human Rights

Legal System

The Central African Republic has a civil law system based on the French model. Countries with civil law systems have comprehensive, continuously updated written legal codes designed to address an entire area of activity, such as criminal law, civil procedure, or commerce. Judicial decisions do not have precedential value. 

Research Guides

These research guides are useful starting points for understanding the Central African Republic's legal system and well as the sources of law in the Central African Republic. These guides include links to recommended online resources that provide access to legal materials from the Central African Republic.  


The Constitution was adopted on March 27, 2016. The country has had many constitutions since it gained independence from France in 1960. 

Laws and Cases

Online access to laws and cases is very limited. Legislative texts are in French. If you conduct a Google search to retrieve a copy of a law or case, make sure to evaluate the website's authoritativeness and reputability (i.e., did it come from a government's website or an international organization's website?). Laws and cases from the Central African Republic are not available on Westlaw or Lexis. 

For colonial legislation, see the research guides linked above that identify names of official journals and bulletins that you can search for on NUsearch by publication name. 

In addition to checking the databases and websites for French-speaking countries in Africa listed above to find the foreign legal materials you need, subject-specific collections of laws, which collect laws from various countries pertaining to a particular subject, can be useful resources to incorporate into your research process. These resources often have great search capabilities and the ability to navigate the database in English.

For a much more comprehensive guide to subject law collections than the selected databases listed below, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law - Subject Law Collections on the Web research guide