On 28 October 2020, Sierra Leone deposited its instrument of accession to the UN Secretary General, acceding to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “Convention“).
Sierra Leone will become the 166th state party to the Convention, following the recent accession of Ethiopia and Tonga earlier this year. Under Article XII (2), the Convention will come into force for Sierra Leone on 26 January 2021.
Under Article I.3 of the New York Convention, contracting states are able to ratify or accede subject to certain reservations. Sierra Leone has acceded to the Convention subject to three reservations. It will apply the Convention only:
- to the recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting State;
- to differences arising out of legal relationships, whether contractual or not, which are considered commercial under the laws of Sierra Leone; and
- to arbitration agreements concluded and arbitral awards rendered after the date of its accession to the Convention.
Accession to the Convention was one of the recommendations to come out of Sierra Leone’s inaugural Commercial Law Summit, held in Freetown in 2017. The Summit recognised the potential for promotion of the rule of law to drive economic prosperity in Sierra Leone, addressing gaps in commercial law and the justice system. Sierra Leone’s recent accession follows the approval of ratification of the Convention by the Parliament of Sierra Leone on 9 November, 2018.
HSF is proud to have supported Sierra Leone in its work towards accession to the Convention through its Fair Deal Sierra Leone pro bono programme, further details of which can be found here.
For further information, please contact Andrew Cannon, Partner, Gavin Davies, Partner, Hannah Ambrose, Senior Associate or Rebecca Perlman, Senior Associate or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.