Call for Papers -Thirty Years of the Sierra Leone Constitution Reflections on its Past and Future


Sierra Leone marks its 60th independence anniversary on 27th April 2021 in what is expected to be a fanfare of celebrations regarding the milestone event. Of significance is that the Constitution of Sierra Leone will also attain a milestone, marking 30 years of existence.

The constitutional history and development of Sierra Leone has been chequered by political upheavals. This includes military interventions in the 1960s and 1990s and a ten year bloody civil war which raged on from 1991 to 2001. While the current Constitution contains a Bill of Rights intended to protect individual civil liberties, its articulation is very similar to previous 1960, 1971 and 1978 constitutions. Further, the judicial application of human rights including in relation to issues of personal liberty and obtaining of evidence, continue to follow English common law principles, and have not embraced a liberal approach. Subsequent to the civil war, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established which among other things, recommended a constitutional review process. A constitutional review committee was established to conduct consultations. This resulted in a nation-wide consultative process. However, most of the recommendations of the committee’s report were not accepted by Government.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the current 1991 Constitution and the 60th independence anniversary of Sierra Leone, the Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy for Justice (ILRAJ) will compile a book/journal on the Constitution of Sierra Leone. Consequently, this is a call for high quality articles from authors from a multidisciplinary background of law, political science and other social sciences. This call will provide an opportunity to reflect on constitutionalism and constitutional making, constitutional history and development, constitutional interpretation, the protection of human rights, the architecture of State institutions and the content of the constitution. The critical question remains the extent to which the 1991 Constitution has served in responding to the political, social, economic and cultural issues that face Sierra Leone.

Articles may cover various topics, including but not limited to:

  • Constitution making and constitutionalism in Sierra Leone
  • Historical perspectives
  • Inequality, threats to democratic exchanges, political participation, and politics
  • Justiciability of socio-economic rights
  • Constitutional interpretation
  • Judicial application of the bill of rights
  • A constitutional approach to addressing current political challenges
  • National institutions and their efficacy
  • The application of international law in the Sierra Leone constitutional and legal order
  • The limitation of human rights
  • The constitution and the fight against corruption
  • Judicial independence
  • Comparative approaches to constitutional interpretation
  • Ensuring the application of the rule of law in Sierra Leone
  • Separation of powers

Guidelines for Submission of papers

Interested authors are requested to submit short abstracts not exceeding 300 words not later than 30 May 2020.

Abstracts must include the sufficient details of the question(s) that the paper seeks to address and the conclusions. The abstracts must be sent to email – An acknowledgement will be returned upon receipt of submission. The abstracts should include the name and institutional affiliation of the author.

Papers to be submitted for publication in the Journal must have a cover page indicating name of author(s), academic and professional qualifications, designation, affiliated institution, contact address, telephone number and email address of the author(s).

Full paper should ordinarily not exceed 10,000 words; double line spacing, typewritten in Times New Romans, on an A4 size paper. Exceptionally, articles of more than 10,000 words may be considered. The text including footnotes should be double spaced. Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of each page and citations should follow Basic Bluebooking—Secondary Sources in Law Review Footnotes.

Papers should be submitted in Microsoft word-format, in British English. Contributions must be sent in soft copy to the email –  

Authors must be ready to send a full article upon acceptance of their abstracts.  Full articles must be submitted by 30 August 2020.

All papers will be subjected to blind peer review by experts within six weeks from the date of submission. The editorial board reserves the right to select the articles for publication.

About the Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy for Justice (ILRAJ) The Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy for Justice (ILRAJ) is a limited liability company registered under the laws of Sierra Leone that seeks to inter alia conduct research on national and international law, act as a catalyst for law reform, evaluate legislations and the performance of institutions of public interest, publish and print of books, journals and magazines and promote legal and civic education in schools, universities other learning institutions.

You can download the full document in .docx format here