National Social Insurance Fund
Cameroon
Africa

Organization of capacity-building seminars and workshops for officials of courts, tribunals and the judicial administration for better management of social security litigation

Implementation year
2022

The legislation governing social security and its litigation is specific in nature, insofar as this field is governed by procedures that are very different from the ones applied in ordinary law. The situation was further complicated by the fact that the courts responsible for handling social security litigation in Cameroon lacked the necessary specialized knowledge, leading several courts to render decisions that were inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the legislation governing social security.

In light of the situation, the National Social Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale de prévoyance sociale – CNPS) of Cameroon undertook several legislative and regulatory reforms, in particular to optimize procedures for collecting outstanding social security contributions. This in turn resulted in far-reaching changes to the related litigation procedures. Initially, several decisions handed down by the competent courts were sharply criticized on the grounds that the judges hearing the cases failed to apply the law properly. In other cases, some courts without jurisdiction declared themselves competent, handing down decisions that were also subject to criticism and various legal challenges.

There was thus a failure to ensure litigants’ access to the proper administration of their right to social protection. Likewise, the rights of the CNPS were violated, as it lost court cases primarily because the judges hearing cases did not clearly understand the social security legislation at issue.

To solve the problem, the CNPS took a pragmatic approach, requesting and obtaining authorization from the Ministry of Justice to hold capacity-building seminars for court and registry officials involved in handling CNPS-related litigation.

By the end of these seminars, which were held throughout the country in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, the CNPS managed to underscore the importance of properly understanding the texts and procedures relating to social security and its litigation. Magistrates and court clerks now have a better grasp of such procedures, as reflected by the quality of the decisions handed down by these courts, which henceforth apply the law better.

On a completely different level, the magistrates also shared with the CNPS their experience in interpreting social security legislation, suggesting certain legislative amendments to enhance the law’s effectiveness.

This participatory and inclusive approach has helped improve the handling of social security and its litigation by the different courts. The persons targeted unanimously recognized the pertinence of this approach, strongly recommending that the CNPS regularly hold such seminars, which are extremely beneficial for all stakeholders.

Topic:
Governance and administration
Contribution collection and compliance