4 September 2018
Dr Emilia Onyema’s recently published edited collection, Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration, was launched at SOAS on 23 July 2018 by the School of Law (SoL) and the Centre of African Studies (CAS).
The launch was chaired by Professor Mashood Baderin of SoL and CAS, and with Dr Onyema’s opening discussions on a summary of the SOAS Arbitration in conference series which led to the publication of the book. This was followed by Dr Nagla Nassar, Partner at Nassar Law in Cairo, on the chapter she contributed to the book. Dr Nassar wrote the chapter on the attitude of the Egyptian courts from her research into 375 arbitration-related decisions from the Egyptian courts.
A panel of arbitration practitioners then discussed the utility of the book to their arbitral practice with reference to Africa. Mr Christoph von Krause, Partner and Head of Africa Dispute Practice at White & Case, Paris, noted that the book will be invaluable for practitioners who may even use it to base their arguments before a national court.
Mr Kamal Shah, Partner and Head of the Africa and India Groups at Stephenson Harwood, London, noted that the book’s focus on national courts is very useful to practitioners and their clients; in-house counsel and investors, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated; and for judges who can read what their counterparts are doing in other parts of Africa.
Mr Tsegaye Laurendeau of Shearman & Sterling, London, noted that the practical benefit of the book is its focus on judges in Africa and the central role they play in supporting the arbitral process.
Steven Finizio, Partner at Wilmer Hale, London, on his part, noted that the book creates a two-way education on why non-African companies should not be afraid to arbitrate in Africa. He also noted that the book takes on the big questions on the attitude of the courts in Africa towards arbitration and supported Kamal’s call for improved law reporting. He finally noted that there is an increasing momentum on publications and exchanges of ideas at conferences which all help in developing familiarisation with arbitration in Africa.