Constitution of the Republic of Liberia

Year of Version:1986
Date of Entry into Force:January 6, 1986
Date of Text (Adopted):July 3, 1984
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
The Republic of Liberia is considered to be Africa’s oldest democracy. It was founded in 1822 and became an Independent State in 1847.

Liberia has adopted two Constitutions since its foundation. The first was the 1847 Constitution which was suspended on April 12, 1980, following the coup d'etat which overthrew the presidency of H. E. William R. Tolbert, Jr.
The second Constitution replaced the Liberia constitution of 1847 which was approved and adopted by a National Referendum on July 3, 1984.

As the fundamental law of the Republic of Liberia, the Constitution defines the structure of the Government of Liberia, the rights and duties of the country's citizens, its mode of passing laws and specifies the principle of separation and balance of the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

The legislative power is vested in the Legislature, which consists of two separate houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives (Art. 29).
The executive power is vested in the President, who is the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia (Art. 50).
The judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and subordinated courts (Art. 65).

The legal system in Liberia is a dual one of statutory law based on Anglo American Common law for the modern sector and customary law based on unwritten customary practices for the indigenous people.

The Constitution contains provisions concerning intellectual property on the protection of traditional cultural expressions. It protects the right to preserve foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character (Art. 27. b.).
The Constitution also guarantees the freedom of expression (Art 15. b), the right of private property (Art. 22. a) which can be extended to the intellectual property rights.
Available Texts: 

Constitution of the Republic of Liberia Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Complete document (pdf) [113 KB] Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Complete document (htm) [136 KB] (Version with Automatic Translation Tool)

WIPO Lex No.:LR003