DJIBOUTI BECOMES 163RD SIGNATORY OF THE ICSID CONVENTION

Authors: Andrew Cannon, Natalie Yarrow and Rebecca Warder 

The Republic of Djibouti is the latest country to become a signatory to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention). Djibouti’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, signed the ICSID Convention on 12 April 2019. Djibouti must now ratify the ICSID Convention in order for it to become a Contracting State (or Member State) to the ICSID Convention, and for the ICISD Convention to come into force for Djibouti.

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COURT SUPPORT FOR ARBITRATION IN SOUTH AFRICA: KNOWING WHERE YOU STAND

Author: Jonathan Ripley-Evans and Fiorella Noriega Del Valle

In December 2017, South Africa brought into law its first piece of legislation dedicated to international arbitration, the aptly named International Arbitration Act of 2017 (the New Act).

The New Act

The New Act incorporates the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law and further aligns the country’s national law with the New York Convention. The legislation has been welcomed as a necessary step for South Africa to become the continent’s leading arbitral hub. Rather interestingly, in an effort to stimulate the growth of ADR, parties can also now choose to refer their disputes to conciliation using the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules.

But the New Act does not stop at mere adoption of the UNCITRAL texts and modernisation of the old regime. Ambitious refinements to the Model Law (which is incorporated as Schedule 1 to the New Act), seek to advance certain matters into what many may regard as relatively unchartered waters. One such ambitious development relates to court ordered interim measures.

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SUDAN BECOMES 159TH CONTRACTING STATE TO THE NEW YORK CONVENTION

Sudan has become the 159th Contracting State to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. On 26 March 2018, Sudan deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention with the UN Secretary General. In accordance with its article XII (2), the Convention will enter into force in Sudan on 24 June 2018.

As of now, Sudan has not made any declarations, notifications or reservations regarding the application of the Convention. The most frequently made declarations are to apply the Convention only to: (i) recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting State (the so-called “reciprocity reservation”); and (ii) differences arising out of legal relationships that are considered commercial under the national law (the so-called “commercial reservation”). Sudan’s Arbitration Act adopted in 2016 contains a reciprocity reservation clause in Article 48 (e), suggesting that such a reservation may be made.

The Sudanese economy has been negatively affected by civil war and decades of international sanctions. Sanctions have been relaxed in recent years, however, and accession to the Convention is no doubt intended as a sign of a renewed commitment to attract foreign investment. Sudan is the 38th African State to become party to the Convention.

For further information, please contact Peter Leon, Andrew Cannon, Jonas Thierens or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Peter Leon
Peter Leon
Co-Chair of Africa Practice Group, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2620

Andrew Cannon
Andrew Cannon
Partner, London
+44 20 7466 2852
Jonas Thierens
Jonas Thierens
Paralegal
+44 20 7466 7910

ITLOS RULES IN FAVOUR OF GHANA IN LONG-STANDING MARITIME DISPUTE WITH COTE D’IVOIRE

Author: Andrew Cannon, Iain Maxwell, and Maguelonne de Brugiere

On 23 September 2017, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered its judgment on the longstanding maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

The Special Chamber reconfirmed the relevance of the equidistance methodology in determining the maritime boundary between the two States. The judgment also touches on important issues affecting States and international companies operating in disputed waters such as the applicable obligations pending resolution of such disputes.

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