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Company Registration in Cameroon


ARTICLE 30-33 (NEW) of the Law is to the effect that, every birth shall be declared to the civil status registrar of the place of birth within 60 days following such birth. Where a child is born in the hospital or other medical institutions, the head of the hospital or in his absence, the doctor or any person who attended the birth shall be bound to declare the birth of the child within 30 days of such birth. If the birth was not declared within the period stated above, the parents of the child have an additional period of 60 days within which, he/she must make the declaration before the civil status registrar of the place of birth.

ARTICLE 32 (NEW) is to the effect that births declared after the expiry of the periods referred to above may be registered at the instance of the competent State Counsel seized of the matter, which shall move the competent court within six months of the birth.
ARTICLE 33 (NEW) Stipulates that if a birth was not declared within six months, it can be registered by the civil status registrar only by way of a judgment of the competent court, and by the conditions laid down in Articles 23 and 24 of the Law. (Applications for rectification or reconstitution of the civil status certificate shall be brought before the competent court under which falls the civil status registry in which the certificate was or ought to have been drawn up. Such applications shall state, inter alia, the full name of the applicant, the full name, affiliation, date, and place of birth of the person whose certificate is to be rectified or reconstituted. Detail reasons justifying reconstitution or rectification, full name ages, and place of residence of witnesses, and the civil status registry where the certificate was or ought to have been drawn. The court seized of the application under the above condition must, before any decision is taken, forward the application to the Legal Department for purposes of inquiry and to ensure that:
1) Another civil status certificate of the same type does not already exist for the same person; and,
2) to ensure that the witnesses presented by the application are likely either to have been present at the birth, marriage, or death they are attesting to or, to furnish proof of the same, that, the declaratory judgment sought will not have the effect of fraudulently changing the full name, affiliation, date of birth or death, in marital status.
The inquiry (is necessary) but shall not be obligatory in the case of applications concerning minors less than 15 years old.)
If a person is found in possession of two birth certificates only the oldest in date shall be taken into consideration without the prejudice to any legal action.
A birth certificate is indicative of the fact that a human being has been born alive.
It also informs of a person’s affiliation if he or she is an illegitimate, recognized, adopted, or legitimate child. These are different statuses that must be reflected in a birth certificate at every given time. A person’s birth certificate should be able to reveal his/her complete identity. Unfortunately, in Cameroon today, the situation is the reverse. It is therefore important for lawmakers to enact bills, which ought to be signed into law, to rectify the said problem because birth certificates can hardly be relied upon for information. This is so because the birth certificates only provide inadequate information (like the place of birth) of individuals and not specifics like the hospital of birth. Firstly, paternity is often given to the wrong person, since tradition holds that a child born out of wedlock belongs to the grandfather or the relative who is raising the child, to enable them to claim family allowance from the social insurance fund.
As such, the natural or biological father is hardly ever known. This is another aspect the lawmakers must rectify because it contravenes the provision of Article 34(2) which demands that, a space for a father should be left blank where the natural father is unknown. In this way, it is easier for the natural father’s name to be inserted as soon as he recognizes or legitimizes the child as per Articles 41 and 44 of the Law which states that, the recognition or legitimation of a child born out of wedlock shall be established by court decision. The same shall apply to cases of adoption. However, delivery shall be equivalent to the recognition of the child by the mother and marriage celebrated after recognition shall imply legitimation of the children recognized as born of the spouses. A point to note is that recognition and legitimation, except adoptive legitimation,, shall be based on the blood relationship. Once the relationship has been established, no one may object recognition. Court judgments on recognition, legitimation,, and adoption shall be inscribed as marginal notes on the birth certificates.

Birth certificate

Recognition of children born out of wedlock may be done by a declaration made before the civil status registrar during birth registration. In such a case, the declaration of the presumed father shall be accepted by the civil status registrar after the consent of the mother and in the presence of two witnesses. The civil status registrar shall identify the parents and shall transcribe the declaration into a register numbered and initialed by the president of the court of First Instance and kept for that purpose.
Such declaration shall be signed by the father, the mother, witnesses,, and the civil status registrar before the birth certificate is drawn up. If one of the parents is a minor, his consent shall be given by the father, mother, or guardian. The consent shall be given verbally before the civil status registrar or in writing duly legalized and annexed to the register. This procedure shall not apply when there is a dispute especially if paternity is claimed by several persons before the establishment of the civil status certificate.
Moreover, anything to the contrary creates a cloud on the parentage of the child and it is tantamount to forgery contrary to, and punishable under Section 314 of the Cameroon Penal Code i.e. forgery. S.314 (1) is to the effect that, whoever forges or alters, whether in its substance or the signature of parties or witnesses or its date, any private document having the effect of an obligation, discharge, or disposition shall be punished with imprisonment for from three to eight years and with a fine of from 50.000FCFA to 1.000.000FCFA.
S. 314(3) of the Cameroon Penal is to the effect, whoever makes use of such a document shall be punished in like manner as if he forged the document.
Secondly, today, most birth certificates in Cameroon reflect the wrong ages. The tendency is for people to change their ages following the indication of the time because of the laxity, on the part of both court and the civil status registrar in the issuance of birth certificates. It is therefore not strange to see one person with ten birth certificates which may indicate that she had her first child at the age of three. Strange!! Isn’t it?
The importance of age cannot be over-emphasized. One’s age has a bearing on his civil right to vote, his right to when to contract a marriage, etc. Age also determines one’s criminal responsibilities and a person’s capacity to enter into some contracts. In effect, one’s age is a determinant factor in all areas of life. That explains why people have a multiplicity of birth certificates just to put themselves within the demand at the time. This attitude is criminal and is contrary to the provisions of Article 2 of the Law which is to the effect that birth, marriage, and death certificates, once issued are intangible and final. This means that once you have been issued a birth certificate it cannot be changed nor the facts altered except by a court decision. Age affects the foreigner’s right to Cameroon nationality. A foreigner born in Cameroon has a right to elect Cameroonian nationality 6 months before attaining a majority before the court. This is because Cameroon does not recognize dual nationality as of this moment.
We are therefore calling on the courts (Magistrates and Registrars) to make sure that, all, the required documents have been produced such as marriage certificates and delivery certificates before establishing a birth certificate or a declaratory judgment. Another point of note is for these officers to ensure that the birth certificates or declaratory judgment are within their jurisdiction as per Article 30 of the Law, to ease investigation. Today, a proper investigation remains a dream because; the provisions of Article 30 which states that, a birth shall be declared to the civil status registrar of the place of birth within 60 days following such birth, are never respected.
Furthermore, where a child has been recognized, legitimized, or adopted, these facts should be inscribed as marginal notes on the birth certificate, mentioning the court’s decision or marriage certificate which has empowered them to do so. See Article 41(3) Court judgments on recognition, legitimation, and adoption shall be inscribed as marginal notes on the birth certificates.
As earlier mentioned, a person’s birth certificate should speak for itself, because it has its bearing and gives rise to legal implications on paternity, maintenance, nationality, and inheritance.
An illegitimate child has the right to maintenance and education from the natural father. Initially, the law provided them with no legal safeguards. However, a recognized child has similar rights but very limited rights of inheritance in cases where the parents remain unmarried. Legitimate and adopted children have the same absolute rights to all the items mentioned above such as rights to maintenance, custody, control, and inheritance.




‘’The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. We insist specialist advice be sought depending on your specific circumstance’’





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