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Smart, Henry Mathew Joko (1973) Sierra Leone Family Law. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis concerns Sierra Leone Family Law. The law is examined from the viewpoint of the pluralistic system - general, Islamic and customary laws - applicable in the country. The thesis is divided into three Parts. This being a pioneering work, it is necessary to give first an explanatory outline of the country and its legal system and how family law works within that system. Part One, which contains four chapters, is devoted to this preliminary explanation. The Second Part deals with non-customary family law, It is mainly an analysis of the general law and Islamic law, but it also considers specific areas in family law in which there are conflicts in the pluralistic legal system. The highlights of this Part are: statutory marriage (Chapter 5); the essentials of a valid statutory marriage (Chapter 6); matrimonial relations (Chapters 7 and 8); matrimonial property (Chapter 9); matrimonial reliefs (Chapter 10); termination of marriage(Chapter 11); the parent-child relationship (Chapter 12); and succession to property under non-customary law (Chapter 13). Part Three discusses customary family law. The inform-at ion contained in this Part is derived partly from previous published and unpublished sources, and partly from the personal field investigations of the present writer. The method of exposition of the customary laws is by topics rather than by ethnic groups, though with each topic, ethnic/local variations are indicated where relevant. This Part begins with an introduction showing how the present writer collected his data on customary law. Chapter 14 examines the nature and character of customary-law marriage. Chapters 15 and 16 analyse the formation of a customary-law marriage and the essential requirements for such marriage respectively. The husband and wife/wives relationship in the compound/Polygamous family is dealt with in Chapter 17. Chapter 18 discusses the termination of a customary-law marriage. The parent-child relationship under customary law is examined in Chapter 19. Finally, Chapter 20, dealing with succession under customary law, concludes the thesis.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:28

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