SOAS University of London

School of Law

Aruna Bundu-Conteh

LLB (Hons) (London); LLM (London); B.L. (Bachelor of Laws) ( Sierra Leone Law School)
  • Research


Aruna Bundu-Conteh
Aruna Bundu-Conteh
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Costs, Myths and Realities of International Investment Treaty Arbitration in the Extractives Sectors and West African States.
Internal Supervisors


Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sierra where I negotiated and drafted complex Commercial Concession Agreements; MoUs; Commercial Contracts; International Commercial Arbitration Agreements Legal Opinions for various reputable government institutions and retained private corporate clients, including: the National Revenue Authority (NRA); Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA); University of Sierra Leone ( USL, Fourah Bay College), Njala University; Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA); Zenith Bank (SL) Ltd. I the UK, I worked for various reputable law firms as a lawyer and/or legal Consultant in Prison Law; Immigration Law, Housing Law; Personal Injury Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation.

I worked in the, Criminal Law Directorate, Home Office, London, as Lawyer and Executive Officer (EO) where I:

  • Dealt with all policies relating to Part III of the Domestic Violence, Crime and           
  • Victims Act (DVCVA) 2004;
  • Drafted UK Government Ministerial Briefings, official correspondences, and      
  • supporting documentation for the DVCVA to a high standard within set timeframes   and following set formats; 
  • Drafted Stand Part Clause Notes and Notes on  Amendments to England and Wales Parliamentary Bills;
  • Attended the UK House of Commons and House of Lords and conducted paper and electronic legal research for the Bill Team lawyers during Committee and Report stage debates in the UK House of Commons and House of Lords.

PhD Research

My thesis will critically analyse the perceived or real costs, myths, realities of International Investment Treaty Arbitration (IITA) between international investors and host-West African States; it will explore International Investment Treaty Arbitration on the extractives sectors of West African States. The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) will be discussed in its relation to the enforcement of extractives sectors’ arbitral awards regarding investor-State agreements.

My research will use the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Ghana as case studies in order to explore why these West African States, which are global players in the extractives sectors, need Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for their respective extractives sectors. It is claimed, with empirical and data-based evidence that the relationship between host country and company in the extractives sectors will remain contentious; and that in many parts of the world, including West Africa, conflicts are set to escalate. Future disputes have significant ramifications not only for the economic and political stability of the countries concerned but also for companies’ assets and reputations. This research will not only look at the factors which account to the large number of international investment treaty arbitration cases in recent times in the extractives sectors in West African States, but it will also critically examine the triggers of these disputes between international extractives companies and host-West African States.

My research will try to answer the question:  why IITA and not domestic courts of West African States? Also, in recent decades, the question of the impact of IITA on FDI inflows in West African States has gained intense scrutiny. My research will critically examine whether Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) aid the development of West African States especially in their respective extractives sectors. I will examine the numerous studies with a view to assessing the actual effects, if any, on FDI flows of IITA generally and the dispute settlement provisions in international commercial treaty agreements. My research will conduct a comparative study of investment treaty arbitration in the African Union (AU), Commonwealth, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Mano River Union (MRU). Finally I will critically analyse what needs to be done. That is to say, what measures that need to be put in place to not only significantly reduce or eliminate the factors that lead to the large number of cases between international investors and host- West African States in their respective extractives industries, but also to avoid the triggers between international investor companies and host-West African States in their respective extractives sectors.


  • International Commercial Arbitration;
  • International Investment Treaty Arbitration;
  • International Commercial Law;
  • Public International Law;
  • International Development Law;
  • International Criminal Law;
  • International Humanitarian Law;
  • Human Rights Law.