Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration
Emilia Onyema

With the increase in commercial transactions within the fifty-four independent African states and at the international level, it has become apparent that most of the legal framework for arbitration across the continent require reform. Accordingly, in recent years, as this first in-depth treatment of arbitration in Africa shows, jurisprudence from national courts of various African jurisdictions demonstrates that the courts are becoming more pro-arbitration and judges increasingly better understand that their role is to support or complement the arbitral process. This book documents the second SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference held in Lagos in June 2016. In thirteen lucid chapters, African practitioners and academics and European specialists in African legal and arbitral systems provide a remarkably thorough overview of the relation of courts and arbitration in the continent. Among the matters that arise for discussion are the: • disposition of courts in Africa towards arbitration, whether supportive or interventionist; • involvement of courts in the arbitral process before, during, and after an award has been rendered; • publication and access to arbitration-related decisions from African courts; • enforcement of annulled awards in African states under the New York Convention; • prospects for the establishment of a pan-African investment court; and • how foreign courts (particularly in the United States, France, and Switzerland) perceive African arbitration. Because of the wide range of developmental stages among Africa's numerous court and legal systems, Part I of the book explores generic issues relevant to courts and arbitration, followed by detailed descriptions, including court decisions, of the situation in eight specific jurisdictions – Egypt, South Africa, Sudan, Mauritius, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya. The authors of these latter chapters are legal practitioners and academics from each of these countries. Throughout this book, policy recommendations for improving access to court decisions and laws in African states are brought to the fore. In its expertise-based advocacy for a mutually harmonious and supportive co-existence for arbitration and litigation in the context of the complexities and peculiarities of African states – and its confrontation of the predominantly negative perception that often leads to ‘arbitration flight'from the continent – this book helps companies, investors, and their advisors to base their decisions on facts and not perceptions. It will be of great value to practising lawyers in arbitration as counsel or arbitrators, companies doing transnational business, global law firms, government officials, and academics in the field.

Kluwer Law International
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