Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)


Like most Africa countries, Liberia has a dual legal system, that is, the customary and statutory. Cultural and traditional practices influence some of the laws. Laws in both legal systems discriminate against women in overt ways, especially laws that deal with the private sphere, such as marriage, divorce, custody, domestic violence, property, legitimacy, and inheritance. This dissertation seeks to identify inequality in the Liberian Domestic Relation laws that arise from facially discriminatory laws, facially neutral laws and omissions in the law. It also posits that the court’s role in interpreting these issues has been inadequate, and the legislature is reluctant is amend, repeal and enact laws that will remedy the issues.

Given the above, this dissertation has reviewed four models of equality, made a comparative analysis of how these models are utilized in four countries and recommended that substantive equality model could help to remedy inequality problems under the Liberian Domestic Relations Law. This dissertation concludes by suggesting draft languages to the Liberian Equal Protection Clause, and legislative amendments to some provisions of the Domestic Relations Law, and the Equal Rights of Customary Marriage Laws, as well as additions to the provisions of the proposed draft domestic violence Act.