WOMEN CHIEF JUSTICES ACROSS AFRICA
Click below to read our background paper:
Her Ladyship Chief Justice: The Rise of Female Leadership in the Judiciary in Africa
Maria do Céu Silva Monteiro
President, Supreme Court of Justice of Guinea- Bissau, 2008-2012
Maria do Céu Monteiro was elected President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Guinea-Bissau. She was elected in 2004 after the post had been unoccupied for 2 years and held the position until December 2012. She was awarded a scholarship to Portugal for a law degree from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra. Later, she entered the Center for Judicial Studies in Lisbon - C.E.J, for a postgraduate degree in Judicial Magistracy. She has a Master's in Legal and Constitutional Sciences, and a second Master's in Constitutional juridical Sciences, and as of 2021, she is finishing up a Ph.D.
She served as a judge in Guinea-Bissau prior to her election as Supreme Court Judge by nine senior judges from 2004-2013. She also served as President of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), a position she held from 2014-2016.
Judge Maria is a woman of many firsts. The first woman magistrate and judge in Guinea Bissau. The first Portuguese-speaking citizen to preside over the ECOWAS Court of Justice. The first and only one woman to join the First Technical Commission for the Review Constitutional in Guinea Bissau; the first woman to preside over the Guinean Magistrates Union; and the first woman to preside over the Guinean Women's Association of Jurists.