Full-Service Law Firm in Douala, Cameroon
Law Firm OverviewHenry, Samuelson & Co. has all the forensic skills required at our disposal. We offer a full range of legal services with expertise and experience as we engage in litigation proceedings before the courts of common law (courts with ordinary jurisdiction and courts with special jurisdiction) and the specialized courts of Cameroon.
We are also expeditious and expedient. This has come to guarantee the efficiency and effectiveness of proceedings. A great majority of matters handled by our humble selves have brought reverberating success to clients. So far our client-base is Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, Western Europe and the Americas.
Henry, Samuelson & Co. operates from a plush office in McMiriam Tower, a magnificent edifice planted in the heart of the central business district of Akwa, 05 minutes away from the Douala Stock Exchange and the major banking institutions. Being own property, McMiriam provides both spatial stability for us your Solicitors and safety for your rather important documents in our keeping.
Our seat is in Douala, the economic nerve centre of Cameroon, just 25 minutes away from Yaoundé, the seat of the institutions.
We have a rich Library (updated) containing all the practice documents required for the bijural system of Laws in Cameroon (English Common Law and French Civil Law), which systems of law we have the privilege to master to the admiration of our contemporaries. We do not miss any publication of the Supreme Court of Cameroon.
We also have a standing order of the Official Gazette of Cameroon which publishes all the new laws and amendments thereof as enacted by the legislators. For this reason, we are always abreast (not to say ahead) of current legislation.
We are bilingual in English (the vehicle of the English Common Law) and French (the vehicle of the French Civil Law). Since these are also our national languages, we are able to communicate complex concepts to you, the other party and the courts in simple language.
In sum we are a subtle set of meticulous professionals who do not only pay breathless attention to our work, thinking ourselves into it and serving our clients with style and enjoying the whole thing too for, we chose our profession by design (not chance), but we are also accurate in our responses and time-efficient. Matters handled by us do not suffer undue delays. Plus, we do a minute-by-minute report to our clients.
Because we believe in optimizing (not maximizing) the fees our clients pay for the services we render, our charges remain very competitive. And given the quality of our services, our clients always have their money’s worth and frequently more. The proof is that we cannot count the number of occasions clients have called or written to say “thanks for your excellent work… We shall be working a lot with you”. To be brief, we keep our clients for long (not to say forever).
We see you, our client, as an active partner in our business. So we treat you with care and serve you with respect, knowing that since you took the reins of power in our practice you have not relinquished it. Your interests are always our chief concern. Thus a clear understanding of your ultimate objective is a key component in the custom-building of any individual case. In this personal approach we adopt a positive, authoritative stance with the belief that it is only in this way your interests are best served.
Year this Office was Established: 2000
Languages: English & French
Areas of Law
- Administrative Law
- Admiralty & Maritime
- Aerospace Law
- Agency & Distributorship
- Agricultural Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Antitrust & Trade Regulation
- Appellate Practice
- Art & Culture
- Aviation Law
- Banking & Finance
- Banking Law
- Business & Industry
- Business Law
- Capital Markets
- Car Accident
- Civil Litigation
- Civil Rights
- Commercial Law
- Commercial Litigation
- Computer & Software
- Constitutional Law
- Construction Accidents
- Construction Law
- Consumer Law
- Corporate Law
- Corporate Litigation
- Credit & Mortgage
- Criminal Law
- Customs Law
- Debtor & Creditor
- Education Law
- Elder Law
- Election & Political Law
- Employee Benefits
- Entertainment Law
- Environmental & Natural Resources
- Environmental Law
- Estate & Trust
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Financial Litigation
- Financial Services Law
- General Practice
- Health Care
- Health Care & Social
- Human Rights
- Import & Export
- Information Technology
- Insurance Defense
- Intellectual Property
- International Arbitration
- International Investments
- International Law
- International Trade
- Internet Law
- Investment Law
- Joint Ventures
- Land Use & Zoning
- Landlord & Tenant Law
- Licensing Law
- Marketing Law
- Medical Malpractice
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Military Law
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Motor Vehicles
- Natural Resources
- Offshore Services
- Personal Injury
- Personal Property
- Privatization Law
- Product Liability
- Professional Liability
- Professional Malpractice
- Project Finance
- Property Law
- Real Estate
- Research & Development
- Science & Technology
- Sexual Harassment
- Ship Registration
- Social Security
- Social Security Disability
- Social Services Law
- Sports & Recreation
- Telecommunications Law
- Toxic Torts
- Trade Investment
- Traffic Ticket
- Unfair Competition
- White Collar Crime
- Workers Compensation
Additional Areas of Law: Accounting & Collection; Liquidations.
Areas of Law Description
Henry, Samuelson & Co. has earned international recognition as leaders in the following short list of practice areas:
- Accounting & Collection
Henry, Samuelson & Co. advises its corporate clients on a wide range of accounting issues including, but not limited to, the keeping of accounts and fiscal implication, the obligation to establish accounting documents, the obligation to respect accounting principles as provided by the OHADA Uniform Act, the transparency of accounts, accounting information according to the different forms of business organization, the status of accountants, internal and external auditing and more.
In both the civil law and common law jurisdictions of Cameroon, the firm institutes local as well as international adoption proceedings for our clients. With the democratic adoption laws here, the firm has so far obtained several adoption certificates for mostly European and American adopters. A grand majority of the adoptees have come from the over 150 orphanages spread all over Cameroon.
- Aviation and Aerospace
The firm advises both lessors and lessees of aircraft (and engines of aircraft) on a wide range of issues including registration (and deregistration) of aircraft with the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, registration (and deregistration) of Lease agreements, repossession and enforcement, payments, confiscation, liability, insurance, import-export permits, bankruptcy, formalities, practical and other considerations. With our experience in this area of practice, we master the procedure for registering an aircraft including all the forms to be filled and filed, Power of Attorney to obtain, taxes to be paid to the taxation department for registration and stamp duty, fees due to the CCAA and Bureau Veritas. Our Attorneys have taken part in the inspection of aircraft by the CCAA and Bureau Veritas prior to registration.
- Banking & Finance
We represent clients worldwide in all aspects of financing transactions. Transactions range from origination and negotiation to documentation and closing, and when necessary, to enforcement of remedies of procedures and agreements for workout and reorganization. Clients retain the firm to represent them in their various capacities in financing transactions as agents, senior lender or other syndicate member, seller or purchaser of participation, assignor or assignee of direct loan interests, letter of credit issuer, trustee and arranger or purchaser of capital market instruments. Our attorneys also advise corporate borrowers involved in mergers and acquisitions, divestiture of operating units, equipment and project funding, debt restructuring and working capital and other financing transactions. The firm also engages in money transfer regulatory environment review in Cameroon and beyond to the Franc CFA zone.
- Bankruptcy & Liquidation
Since the entering into force of the 1998 OHADA Uniform Act on the Organization of the Collective Procedure of Auditing Liabilities, we talk less and less of the old law of bankruptcy and more and more of the modern law of “enterprises in difficulty”. The old approach had a rather repressive character with a lot of emphasis put on the creditors of the enterprise. The objective of this modern approach is to: Prevent difficulties; Rehabilitate enterprises capable of being rescued; Tearfully and reluctantly liquidate those enterprises which are irretrievably going bust; and, Punish those responsible for bankruptcy.
- Business Criminal Law
Being a mainly business law firm, H S & Co. has developed an efficient and effective business criminal law practice to fight economic offenses committed within the framework of corporate entities against collective interests. In effect our team of business criminal law experts give advisory services on economic or market offenses (unfair competition, passing-off and consumption…), financial offenses (taxation, banking, stock exchange), corporate offenses (research for shares, incorporation, declaration of conformity, declaration of share capital, immatriculation in the commerce register, sharing of dividends, annual balance sheet, abuse of goods and credit, general assembly, modification of capital, controls, dissolution, liquidation).
- Commercial and Corporate
With the experience our attorneys have acquired with the passage of time on the job, HS & Co. provides advise on corporate acquisition, mergers and acquisitions, take over, leases, taxation, social security, labor and trade relations matters, rehabilitation, administrative and judicial liquidation, agency contracts, distributorships, etc. Besides, the firm recently did a consultancy whereby a foreign company with an intention to open branches in west and central Africa asked us to do a general comparative study between the present OHADA code and the former “droits des sociétés”. Specifically, they wanted to know (inter alia) whether under the OHADA space, if they opened a branch office in Cameroon, they could operate in the whole OHADA sub-region with headquarters in Cameroon or they would be required by law to open branches in each country where they wished to operate. We also gave advise drawing from the 1990 new investment code, the 1985 banking law, the Free Trade Zone and the CIMA Code.
- General Practice
In addition to the consultancies we do in our specialized areas of practice and the eventual litigation that may ensue, the firm offers legal counseling in vast and varied domains, including but not limited to:
• General legal advice to clients with whom we have a general retainer agreement
• Legal opinion on all aspects of Cameroon municipal law
• Study of legal environment
• Legal audit
• Procuring, preparation and submission of administrative, technical and financial files against tenders from both government departments, para-public corporations and private firms
• Drafting of all types agreements, including: employment contracts, promissory notes, contracts of sale, assignment of debts, deeds, lease, mortgage, pledge agreements, memoranda and articles of association, website development agreements, website hosting agreements, and more
• Procurement of residence permits and labour contracts for expatriate staff
• General representation of clients, present or absent
• Foreign traders’ guide
• Execution of civil judgments
One of the things that H S & Co. does on a rather regular basis is the incorporation of public limited companies, private limited companies with two or more shareholders or sole shareholder, partnerships, common initiative groups, economic interest groups and, civil companies for professionals who are not business persons as such. We also set up enterprises for sole proprietors. The OHADA uniform Act is there to guide us along these lines.
The companies we have incorporated in recent times include, but not limited to, Acquisitions Ltd, Global Strategic Business Company Ltd, Pacific Plastics Company Ltd, Cameroon Commercial House Ltd, Seafood Company Ltd, Valdas and Company Ltd, Toptone Cameroon Company Ltd, Makon Cameroon Company Ltd, NNABS Company Ltd, Jourdain T P Company Ltd, ETPGC Ltd, Houstons Hotels Ltd, BARECO Company Ltd, PHAROS Company Ltd, Vanguard University of Science and Technology …, all with registered offices in Douala, Tiko, Limbe or Buea.
We represent both national and international clients in all aspects of insurance, reinsurance and co-assurance transactions. We incorporate insurance and reinsurance companies under the OHADA Uniform Act and the CIMA code, obtain their operating license and advise them on tax, labour and social insurance issues. The firm also assists insurance companies in the recovery of outstanding premiums unpaid. Most frequently, the firm advises on insurance premium tax and insurance regulation in the CIMA jurisdiction. We have equally been consulted on the writing of non-admitted insurance and the special license an overseas insurance company requires underwriting risk located in the CIMA sub region. From time to time, foreign reinsurance companies consult the firm to review pro forma reinsurance contracts to check their conformity to Cameroon municipal laws.
- International Trade
The major hurdle on the way of international trade is credit and trust. This is why the mechanism of Commercial Bankers Credit was devised. In effect, H S & Co. is frequently engaged in documentary credit transactions mostly between Cameroonian importers and European and Asian exporters whereby some standby Letters of Credit are issued by local funding banks in favour of the European and Asian banks for and on behalf of the Cameroonian business entities. We also investigate local potential buyers/distributors in the interest of foreign suppliers and sometimes act as foreign trader’s guide. H S & Co. equally takes action against local importers who happen to abuse the trust of foreign supplies who kindly grant them suppliers’ credit facilities.
- Intellectual Property
H S & Co. is privileged to have a partner who is an accredited OAPI Industrial Property Attorney. We represent clients worldwide in the African Intellectual Property Organization, commonly known and called by its French acronym, OAPI, grouping 16 west and central African countries to wit: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon (headquarters), Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tchad and Togo, with a total population of over 100 million. An Intellectual Property registered in OAPI is automatically covered and protected in all 16 member countries. The IP rights which are currently protected by OAPI include:
• Trademarks & services marks
• Patents of invention & certificates of addition
• Utility models
• Industrial designs
• Trade names
• Geographical indications
The investment code was revised in 1990 to encourage productive investment in Cameroon. Thus it offers alluring conditions to investors in the form of incentives and guarantees. It is a liberal law in which the legislator calls on all natural persons or corporate bodies of Cameroonian or foreign nationality, irrespective of their place of residence, to undertake economic activity in Cameroon. The code goes further to operationalize this charter of rights in the following feel-at-home terms.
• Foreign nationals have the right to enjoy the same liberties and protection of the law as those granted Cameroonian natural persons or corporate bodies.
• Foreign nationals have the right to enjoy the manifold rights governing property ownership, concessions and administrative authorizations.
• Foreign nationals have a right to compensation in the case of expropriation after evaluation by an independent third party.
• Foreign nationals have the right to enter into and execute any contract that they deem to be in their interest.
• Foreign nationals have the freedom to enter, reside in, travel around and leave the national territory freely. This includes corporate bodies duly established in Cameroon, their partners and managers and foreign staff with approved contracts of employment as well as members of their legitimate families.
• Foreign nationals have the right to hire and fire labour in compliance with the labour and social insurance legislation in force.
• Finally and most importantly, foreign investors resident in Cameroon are guaranteed the right to freely transfer proceeds of all kind from invested capital and in case they cease to operate, the balance of the liquidation. They are also free to transfer funds representing normal and current payments for supplies and service effectively performed, particularly in the form of royalties and sundry remuneration.
We specialized in counseling and guiding investors who are poised to venture in Cameroon.
- Labour & Trade Relations
In August 1992 the Cameroon Labour Code was revised to meet the exigencies of an ambitious economic plan. In this new code, the liberalization of the economy is further sanctified by the freedom of contract between the employer and the employee. Here the balance of favour is tilted to the greater advantage of the employer. At the same time, foreign business operators and foreign employees are greatly protected. In 1998 the President of the Republic ratified a 1973 ILO convention concerning minimum age for admission to employment. Thus the minimum age for admission to employment throughout the national territory is now fixed at 14 years, this in consonance with the revised labour code. It has resulted in increase in the supply of labour and its attendant benefits to the employer. The firm has attorneys who are more than skilled in defending labour suits.
- Litigation & Arbitration
Having all the forensic skills at our disposal, H S & Co. engages in litigation proceedings before the courts of common law (courts with ordinary jurisdiction and courts with special jurisdiction) and the specialized courts of Cameroon. In this respect, while some of our attorneys are brilliant at prosecution, others are practiced in defense. The matters we handle range from disputes connected to and touching business criminal offenses and civil and commercial matters in general (commercial transactions, civil claims, merchant banking, commercial banking, collection, intellectual property infringement, breach of all types of contract, maritime claims, adoption, labour disputes, ship arrest, unfair competition, insurance claims, aircraft confiscation, corporate disputes…).
There is one all-important document which regulates maritime transactions in the CEMAC zone. This is the “Merchant Marine Community Code” (the Code) of 03/08/2001. With the numerous maritime transaction matters the firm handles, this code has simply become a usual working document. The firm’s clients range from shippers to ship owners and transit agents who have found in our attorneys reliable legal support. In effect we work on marine insurance, shipping, admiralty, and international trade. Our specialized experts provide advice and representation in maritime transaction matters and do litigation in areas including, but not limited to: cargo loss and damage claims, ship arrest and eventual sale/auction or release, maritime engagement contracts, maritime insurance claims, charter and other forms of hire disputes, collision and other maritime casualties (general average and salvage), marine and oil pollution, registration and deregistration of vessels, the responsibility of ship owners per the Hamburg Rules of 1978, maritime mortgage.
- Mergers & Acquisitions
The tendency today is for business entities to come together by way of mergers or acquisition in order to reap the benefits that go with scale and size. Here our services are usually retained to do the requisite due diligence before the total or partial takeover or merger is affected. In this effort, we do not only probe into the books of the company; we also investigate the politico-economic environment, cultural environment and at some stage look keenly backward toward the suppliers and finally forward in the direction of the clientele, both actual and potential.
- Natural Resources
H S & Co. is heavily involved in the natural resources and energy sector of Cameroon. In effect we have had to do consultancies on forestry exploitation, diamonds exploration, fishing concessions and oil & gas concessions for American, European and Asian firms. In the process we assist our clients in obtaining the necessary governmental authorizations, licenses and approvals. Thereafter we draft, execute and perfect their edge lease agreements, mineral lease agreements, mining lease agreements, oil and gas lease agreements.
It must be noted here that the 1990 new investment code came to widen the scope of production in the sense that there is no longer any particular protection amongst national business sectors. The wood sector has been liberalized such that it is now easier to obtain the license to exploit timber. The petroleum sector has also been liberalized and oil research, meaning exploration, production and distribution, is open to all who can venture. Moreover, a 1998 law instituted special fiscal measures to promote hydrocarbons exploration activities in Cameroon. This law is a charter of rights and benefits to be enjoyed by holders of hydrocarbons permits and concessions. There is also a fiscalo-customs reform which put every business, whether industrial or commercial, on the same plane.
- Real Estate
H S & Co. is proud to have a Cameroon-government-accredited realtor qua consultant. In effect we do property management, sales, brokerage, rentals, procurement and studies. We also study the legal environment of land and determine its legal status. In practical terms we make two main products available to our local and international clientele, “the bulk-system” and “rent and value”. In effect, we draft, execute and perfect deeds of conveyance, lease contracts, lease-rent contracts, long and short lease contracts, construction lease contracts, lease purchase agreements, commercial lease agreements, community lease agreements, edge lease contracts, finance lease agreements, ground lease agreements, net-net-net lease agreement... We also draft, perfect and execute wills to guarantee smooth transition in succession. Indeed some of our great individual clients have deposited their perfected wills with the firm for safekeeping and eventual execution.
Some of the firm’s attorneys are specialized in company and international taxation law. In the former, local companies engage the firm to give general and specific tax advice. Some even leave us to manage their tax declaration issues and annual balance sheets. In the later we draw from the Franco-Cameroon and Canada-Cameroon tax treaties to advise international companies on the dicey issue of double taxation and the tax implication of employee share plans for multinational companies with branches in Cameroon.
- Telecommunications & Information Technology
The attorneys of the firm have been substantially present in the telecommunications sector in Cameroon since the days of INTELCAM and ACTEL. They have had to be consulted on the laws governing the operation of submarine, terrestrial and spatial radio waves, telecommunications systems, international transit centers required for the routing and transmission of data, facsimiles, sound and TV pictures. With CAMTEL and the Telecommunications Regulatory Board since 1998, H S & Co. has remained at the centre-stage of activity in this sector. The firm is thus frequently engaged by clients to conduct satellite and earth station surveys, encryption surveys and private audiovisual communication regulatory environment reviews. We have equally had to negotiate, draft, execute and perfect interconnection contracts.
- International Trademark Association
- Consulegis EWIV/EEIG
- Association of European Lawyers
Mr. Sammy Bate
Civil Litigation, Eminent Domain, International Trade, Privatization Law, Tax
Mr. Jean Jacques Ebele
Arbitration, Civil Rights, Competition Law, Energy, Oil and Gas
Henry Baaboh Feh, Esq.
Mr. Anthony Taku
Banking Law, Bankruptcy, Finance, Insurance, Litigation
Mr. Jonie Banyong
Mr. Herve Chomnou
I P Consultant
Procurement, Property Management
Ms. Honorine Flore Kayo
Mr. Pascal Mokata
Mr. Valery Nganguh
Mr. Aldrin Ngwafor
Corporate Law Consultant
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Henry, Samuelson & Co. News and Publications
Articles Published by Henry, Samuelson & Co.
Ship Arrest as a Conservatory Measure in Cameroon
The law governing ship arrest in Cameroon is the Merchant Marine Community code of 03/08/2001 (the code). The code was inspired chiefly by the International Convention of 1999 on the arrest of ships and the Brussels Convention of 1952 on the Unification of Certain Rules on the Arrest of Ships. This code is a regional legislation applicable to the CEMAC sub-region comprising Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Tchad, with executive secretariat in Bangui.Read Article
Cameroon Investment (Legal) Environment
For any economy to grow or decline, investment policy is the chief determining factor. By 1990 Cameroon had been suffering under the yoke of economic crisis for nearly half a decade. It was becoming important to find a new paradise of economic prosperity. Law n° 90/071 to rectify ordinance n° 90/007 of 08/11/1990 on the Cameroon Investment Code was to provide the way forward.Read Article
Civil Aviation Law in Cameroon
The law regulating civil aviation in Cameroon is law n°98/023 of 24 December 1998 on the regime of civil aviation.Read Article
Telecommunications Law in Cameroon
Telecoms activities in Cameroon is administered by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. But since communications is the knot which ties both the national and international business community together, the government in 1982 set up INTELCAM, a structure with a business outlook. While this state corporation managed international telecommunications activities, ACTEL was created alongside to take care of the internal telecommunications network.Read Article
The Force of the Cameroon Legal System
The force of the Cameroon legal system resides in the principles and concepts underlying the administration of justice, the institutions where justice is administered and the way the legal rule, regulations and judgements are enforced.Read Article
Cameroon Legal System
Cameroon is a bijural system with the English Common Law operating in the two Anglophone regions of North West and South West and the French Civil Law operating in the eight francophone regions of Adamaoua, Centre, East, Far North, Littoral, North, West and South. These systems of law expanded to Cameroon through colonisation by conquest.Read Article
Ship Arrest as an Executory Measure in Cameroon
The law governing ship arrest as an executory measure in Cameroon is the CEMAC Merchant Shipping Community code of 03/08/2001 (the code). The code was inspired chiefly by the International Convention of 1999 on the Arrest of Ships and the Brussels Convention of 1952 on the Unification of Certain Rules on the Arrest of Ships.Read Article