Togo, officially the Togolese Republic, is a West African country with Lomé as its capital. It is one of the smallest African states, bordered to the north by Burkina Faso, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, to the east by Benin and to the west by Ghana. The population is estimated at about 7.6 million in 2017.
On 27 September 1992, the Constitution of the Fourth Togolese Republic was adopted by referendum, which enshrines a number of provisions on the rights, freedoms and duties of citizens in Title II "Rights, freedoms and duties of citizens" (articles 10 to 50) and affirms the principles of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary and Title VIII "Judicial power" (articles 112-129). The fundamental objective of this Constitution was to include Togo in the circle of democratic states that respect human rights and the rule of law.
The judicial organisation in Togo
The judicial organization in Togo, like its law, is influenced by French law. Togo's judicial organization is composed of two orders, the judicial order and the administrative order (Article 119 of the Constitution). The judicial organisation in Togo was created by Ordinance No. 78-35 of 7 September 1978 on the judicial organisation, as amended successively.
According to article 1 of Order No. 78-35, justice is administered by two categories of ordinary courts: "ordinary courts of common law" and "specialized ordinary courts". The ordinary courts of common law are:
-The Supreme Court (established by articles 120 to 125 of the Constitution and governed by Organic Law No. 97-005 of 6 March 1997 on the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court);
-The Courts of Appeal, and -The Courts of First Instance.
The specialized ordinary courts are:
-Labour courts, and -Juvenile courts
In addition, there are also two categories of special courts, namely the Security Court (governed by Act No. 81-006 of 30 March 1981 on the Code of Military Justice) and the Special Court for the Punishment of the Misappropriation of Public Money (governed by Order No. 72-018 of 13 September 1972 establishing a special court for the punishment of the diversion of public funds).
The ordinary courts of common law - namely the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal and the courts of first instance - are organised into chambers:
-The Supreme Court sits in administrative and judicial chambers;
-The courts of appeal sit in civil, commercial and social chambers, correctional chambers, administrative chambers, indictments and assizes courts, and
-The courts of first instance sit in civil chambers, commercial and correctional chambers.
The specialized ordinary courts are not organized into chambers.