African Court adopts new practice direction

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court) has adopted new Practice Directions aimed at guiding potential litigants on procedures to follow before the Court.

The move which takes effect from March 5 2024 is part of ongoing processes to review and align the Court’s working documents with the 2020 Rules of the Court (the Rules).

Key features of the new Practice Directions according to a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja included procedures on filing of pleadings and service of process; preparation and conduct of physical and virtual public hearings, delivery and notification of decisions and the use of authoritative languages.

The Practice Directions also have an Annexure which offers clarification on the Court’s approach to dealing with various evidentiary matters.

It reads: “The new Practice Directions replace both the Practice Directions to Guide Potential Litigants which was adopted at the 5th Extraordinary Session of the Court in October 2012 and the Practice Directions for Virtual Sessions in the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which was adopted in June 2020.”

The African Court on Human and People’s Rights is a continental Court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. The Court is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity. The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.