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European Journal of Law Reform


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Issue 3-4, 2011 Expand all abstracts

Ingeborg Schwenzer
Dr. iur (Freiburg, Germany), LL.M. (Berkeley, USA), Professor for Private Law, University of Basel, Switzerland.

    Le droit uniforme de l’OHADA réglemente quelques contrats spéciaux des affaires: le bail; le courtage; la commission; le mandat de l’agent commercial; la société commerciale; le transport des marchandises par route; la vente commerciale. Hormis la société commerciale, seule la vente entre commerçants est longuement régie par 87 Arts. de l’acte uniforme relatif au droit commercial général (AUDCG) dans tous les détails de sa formation, son exécution, son dénouement. L’intérêt du législateur OHADA pour ce contrat se comprend pour, soit plusieurs raisons.


Joseph Issa Sayegh
Docteur en droit, ancien Professeur aux Universités de Dakar (Sénégal), de Nice (France) et d’Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire).

    This paper will make the case for more widespread African adherence to the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods, 1980 (“CISG”) on the ground that it represents an effort through the United Nations system to make available harmonised rules on the international sale of goods which are intended to have an international and universal reach. The paper begins with an introduction which briefly examines the origins of CISG and proceeds to discuss the relevance of CISG to Africa. It ends with a recommendation to African States to accede to, or ratify, the Convention.


S.K. Date-Bah
LL.B (Ghana), LL.M (Yale), Ph.D (London School of Economics), Professor of law. Justice at the Supreme Court of Ghana.

    When discussing regional and global unification of sales law it seems appropriate to briefly mention the globalisation of trade. The overall development of international trade over the last half century is startling. Although in Fall 2008 and persisting into 2009 there was a sharp decline worldwide – in 2009 alone the drop amounted to 12% –, preliminary figures indicate a strong rebound, with value of trade in 2010 said to expand by 9,5% compared to 2009. WTO figures for 2008 indicate that worldwide merchandise export trade amounted to 15,717 billion USD and worldwide merchandise import trade to 16,127 billion USD. These figures are approximately 100 times more than 45 years ago and more than 10 times the level at the time of the signing of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”) in 1980. The average annual growth from 2000 to 2008 was more than 5% for both exports and imports worldwide. No longer is the highest growth found in North America, Europe and Japan, but instead it is the transition economies from different points of the globe – particularly China, Brazil, Russia and some African countries. Disregarding the figures for 2009, in Africa the annual growth of exports amounted to 18% in 2007 and 28% in 2008, that of imports to 23% in 2007 and to 27% in 2008.


Ingeborg Schwenzer
Dr. iur (Freiburg, Germany), LL.M. (Berkeley, USA), Professor for Private Law, University of Basel, Switzerland.
Article

INCOTERMS® 2010

Authors Jan Ramberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    After their initial introduction in 1936, Incoterms were revised for the first time in 1957 and thereafter in 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990 and 2000. This appears to suggest that, in recent times, Incoterms have been revised at 10-year intervals. This, however, is a false impression. It is merely a coincidence that the last three revisions are separated by two 10-year periods. Indeed, the main purpose of Incoterms is to reflect international commercial practice. Needless to say, commercial practice does not change at a set interval.


Jan Ramberg
Professor Emeritus of the Law Faculty of the University of Stockholm.

    ICC arbitration was conceived by and for international business. When the International Chamber of Commerce was created in 1920 to combat insularity and protectionism in world trade, dispute resolution was seen as an indispensable part of the services it was to provide. Recognizing that contracts, especially between partners of different cultures, are inevitably exposed to strain, misunderstanding and even, regrettably, sometimes flagrant abuse, the ICC considered it crucial to provide the business world with an appropriate means of overcoming commercial conflict. In the words of Etienne Clementel, the French Minister of Commerce at the time and one of the founders of the ICC, “freedom can truly flourish only if it finds within itself the means to achieve its own moderation”. ICC arbitration was initially developed as a means of self regulation in international commerce.


Jason Fry
LL.B., BCL (Oxon), FCIArb, Secretary General International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

    L’arbitrage OHADA est gouverné par deux instruments adoptés par le Conseil des Ministres de l’OHADA à Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), en date du 11 mars 1999; il s’agit de l’acte uniforme relatif au droit de l’arbitrage (ci-après AUA), qui régit l’arbitrage de droit commun dans les pays membres de l’OHADA, et du Règlement d’arbitrage de la Cour Commune de Justice et d’Arbitrage (ci-après Règlement d’arbitrage CCJA), qui fixe dans le détail les règles de l’arbitrage CCJA, dont les grands traits sont tracés par le titre IV du Traité OHADA.


Gaston Kenfack Douajni
Docteur en Droit (Paris I, Sorbonne), Professor of Business and Arbitration Law (OHADA Law) at the National School of Administration and Magistracy – Yaounde.
Article

Autonomy and Due Process in Arbitration

Recalibrating the Balance

Authors Christa Roodt
AbstractAuthor's information

    Conflicts of jurisdiction between a state court and an arbitral tribunal occur in two different scenarios: (a) claimant X institutes a court action and the defendant subsequently commences with arbitration or requests to be referred to arbitration (as envisaged by the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards – NYC); and (b) claimant X commences arbitration and the defendant subsequently challenges in a national court. X should be able to seek a stay of the parallel litigation on the ground of the existence of a valid agreement to arbitrate the dispute, but the duty on the part of South African courts to do so is not clearly legislated, nor is it as well-understood as it deserves to be. Various interests have fallen into disharmony in this area of the law.


Christa Roodt
Doctor of Laws (University of Orange Free State), LL.M (University of South Africa), LL.B. (University of Pretoria).
Article

Unification of General Contract Law in Africa

The Case of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts

Authors Stefan Vogenauer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The organizers of this conference kindly invited me to speak on the unification of general contract law and on one specific instrument in this area: the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (‘PICC’).1xSee UNIDROIT International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts 2004, Rome, April 2004, available at <www.unidroit.org/english/principles/contracts/principles2004/integralversionprinciples2004-e.pdf>. I would like to use the 14 minutes allocated to my paper to touch on three issues. First, I will give a short overview of the PICC for those who are not yet familiar with this instrument. Secondly, I will look at the use of the PICC in legal practice. And thirdly, I will assess the potential of the PICC for making a contribution to the unification of general contract law in Africa. Overall, I can afford to be brief and limit myself to introductory comments because Ms Mestre of UNIDROIT will cover much of the ground in greater detail.

Noten


Stefan Vogenauer
Professor of Comparative law at the University of Oxford.

    Les propos qui suivent revendiquent une double impertinence. Celle de la répétition car ils reprennent des points de vue déjà exprimés par d’autres, rappelant une vérité d’évidence reconnue par beaucoup, concernant le projet d’uniformisation du droit des contrats dans l’espace OHADA.1xActes du colloque ‘Harmonisation du droit OHADA des contrats’, Ouagadougou, 15-17 novembre 2007, disponible à <www.ohada.com/doctrine/Ohadata/D-09-26>. L’impertinence de l’originalité également en essayant de présenter sous un regard nouveau l’ambition d’intégration du droit des contrats exprimée par les autorités de l’Organisation pour l’Harmonisation du Droit des Affaires en Afrique.

Noten


Mbissane Ngom
Professeur de l’Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis (Sénégal).

    The unification or harmonisation of laws and legal systems is not a new phenomenon. Schmitthoff describes the wave of national unification of commercial laws in Europe during the nineteenth century as a method of obtaining political unity. According to Faria similar results were achieved on a wider scale by the dissemination of English legal traditions throughout common law jurisdictions. What he describes as the “ultimate goal”, however, was the unification of private law, the benefits of which had been extolled by Lord Justice Kennedy as early as 1909.


Riekie Wandrag
LL.B., LL.M. (Free State University), LL.M. (Cambridge), Associate Professor of Law, University of the Western Cape.
Article

OHADA’s Proposed Uniform Act on Contract Law

Formal Law for the Informal Sector

Authors Claire Moore Dickerson
AbstractAuthor's information

    A great deal of effort and a great deal of erudition have gone into the preparation of the OHADA Uniform Act on Contract Law (preliminary draft) [hereinafter draft Uniform Act on Contract Law].1xThe participants at this conference need no introduction to OHADA. The following sources may be helpful to Anglophones seeking basic information about this uniform system of business laws, which includes both statutes (“uniform acts”) and institutions, and is effective in 16 West and Central African countries (with a 17th having signed and ratified the constitutive treaty). Books: C. Moore Dickerson (Ed.), Unified Business Laws for Africa: Common Law Perspectives on OHADA, 2009; Mator et al., Business Law in Africa: OHADA and the Harmonization Process, 2nd edn, 2007; M. Baba Idris (Ed.), Harmonization of Business Law in Africa: The Law, Issues, Problems & Prospects, 2007. Websites, all of which have English-language content, including unofficial translations of the principal OHADA documents: <www.ohada.com>, which also contains scholarly articles; and <www.juriscope.org>, which provides English-language commentary for three of the uniform acts. Also useful is OHADA’s official website, <www.ohada.org>; however, as of this writing (25 February 2011), it describes its English-language portion as still under construction.
    During OHADA’s legislature, the Council of Ministers, adopted at its meeting (13-15 December 2010) revisions to two of its eight existing statutes, namely the Uniform Act on the General Commercial Law (“Acte Uniforme relatif au Droit Commercial Général”, originally adopted 17 April 1997, 1 JO OHADA 1 (1 October 1997), available at <www.ohada.com>, hereinafter sometimes “UAGCL”) and the Uniform Act on Secured Interests (the official French title is “Acte Uniforme portant Organisation des Sûretés,” originally adopted 17 April 1997, 3 JO OHADA 1 (1 October 1997), available at <www.ohada.com>), and adopted a new Uniform Act on Cooperatives, not yet in effect. Because the revised and new texts have not yet been published in their official form as of this writing (25 February 2011), all discussions of the uniform acts, and in particular of the UAGCL, are based on the texts in force prior to that meeting, except for the references at infra notes 10, 19 & 22. The acronym “OHADA” stands for “Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires”, sometimes translated as “Organization for the Harmonization in Africa of Business Laws”.
    An important but simple observation is that by far the greater part of the economies in OHADA’s current and prospective member-countries is located in the informal sector. This reality inevitably will have an impact on the implementation of the proposed uniform act currently under discussion. To be sure, the uniform act, if adopted, will affect agreements in the formal sector. The focus here, however, is the informal sector, for which the draft uniform act is already remarkably suited, given its broad and clear fundamental principles, and its respect for local norms.

Noten

  • 1 The participants at this conference need no introduction to OHADA. The following sources may be helpful to Anglophones seeking basic information about this uniform system of business laws, which includes both statutes (“uniform acts”) and institutions, and is effective in 16 West and Central African countries (with a 17th having signed and ratified the constitutive treaty). Books: C. Moore Dickerson (Ed.), Unified Business Laws for Africa: Common Law Perspectives on OHADA, 2009; Mator et al., Business Law in Africa: OHADA and the Harmonization Process, 2nd edn, 2007; M. Baba Idris (Ed.), Harmonization of Business Law in Africa: The Law, Issues, Problems & Prospects, 2007. Websites, all of which have English-language content, including unofficial translations of the principal OHADA documents: <www.ohada.com>, which also contains scholarly articles; and <www.juriscope.org>, which provides English-language commentary for three of the uniform acts. Also useful is OHADA’s official website, <www.ohada.org>; however, as of this writing (25 February 2011), it describes its English-language portion as still under construction.
    During OHADA’s legislature, the Council of Ministers, adopted at its meeting (13-15 December 2010) revisions to two of its eight existing statutes, namely the Uniform Act on the General Commercial Law (“Acte Uniforme relatif au Droit Commercial Général”, originally adopted 17 April 1997, 1 JO OHADA 1 (1 October 1997), available at <www.ohada.com>, hereinafter sometimes “UAGCL”) and the Uniform Act on Secured Interests (the official French title is “Acte Uniforme portant Organisation des Sûretés,” originally adopted 17 April 1997, 3 JO OHADA 1 (1 October 1997), available at <www.ohada.com>), and adopted a new Uniform Act on Cooperatives, not yet in effect. Because the revised and new texts have not yet been published in their official form as of this writing (25 February 2011), all discussions of the uniform acts, and in particular of the UAGCL, are based on the texts in force prior to that meeting, except for the references at infra notes 10, 19 & 22. The acronym “OHADA” stands for “Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires”, sometimes translated as “Organization for the Harmonization in Africa of Business Laws”.


Claire Moore Dickerson
LL.M. in Taxation (New York University), J.D. (Columbia), Professor of Law and Breaux Chair in Business Law (Tulane University), permanent visiting professor (University of Buea).
Article

International Trade Law Reform in Africa

A Call for Action

Authors Luca G. Castellani
AbstractAuthor's information

    Africa is a major source of commodities and other natural resources. However, such wealth has not yet led to economic development or to increased living standards. On the contrary, Africa remains underdeveloped while other regions of the world enjoy significant, if not spectacular, success. Between 1970 and 2008, the pro-capita income of African energy-exporting countries has increased 72%, while that of African Least Developed Countries has decreased 13%, and that of remaining African countries has increased 31%; in the same period of time, the increase in pro-capita income for South Asian and East Asian low income countries has been, respectively, 236% and 223%, and that of China a staggering 1,531%.


Luca G. Castellani
Legal officer with the UNCITRAL Secretariat, Vienna, Austria. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

    Dans le demi-siècle écoulé depuis l’accession aux indépendances, les pays africains ont affronté des processus complexes qui ont mis au devant des priorités la construction politique et institutionnelle interne et leur reconnaissance dans le concert des nations du monde. Dans le même temps, loin de profiter de la croissance globale qu’ont connue les pays avancés, les populations du continent africain – et des pays les moins avancés de la planète – ont souffert d’une dégradation progressive de leurs conditions de vie.


Frédérique Mestre
Fonctionnaire principale, UNIDROIT. Contribution à la 1ère Conférence africaine sur le droit commercial international, Douala (Cameroun), 13-14 février 2011. Les opinions ici exprimées sont celles de l’auteur et n’engagent pas UNIDROIT.

    International commercial law as a body of law that governs international sale transactions has a bright future in the East African Community (EAC) region. As long as international trade is growing so does the relevancy of international commercial law. As a Regional Economic Community, the EAC continues to facilitate trade arrangements between its Partner States to enable them to benefit from greater access to each other’s markets. Regional trade initiatives and economic integration as espoused by the EAC are no doubt integral to international commercial law through their impact on commercial transactions. In particular, the creation of an economic and monetary union is bound to advance international commercial law.This paper posits, therefore, that international commercial law has a favourable future in EAC, and indeed there are many developments that have been embarked on by the EAC to boost its relevancy. As will be illustrated in the paper, key among these developments is the holistic integration approach that has been embraced by the EAC. Commencing with a Customs Union, integration in the EAC has moved to a Common Market, is heading to a Monetary Union, and is ultimately bound to crystallize into a Political Federation. The paper shows that such an ambitious integration process poses both potential opportunities and limitations on the future of international commercial law. The paper highlights what the EAC is doing to harmonise its commercial laws to attain a common investment area and an effective functioning common market. It also explores the implications of this effort on the future of international commercial law and suggests proposals on the way forward.


Stephen Agaba
Principle Legal Officer, East African Community (EAC).

    L’arbitrage occupe une place centrale dans la régulation des échanges internationaux. En effet, en l’absence d’une juridiction internationale de droit privé, il est devenu «la seule méthode réaliste de résolution des litiges commerciaux internationaux».L’essor de l’arbitrage s’accompagne ainsi de l’adoption de Conventions multilatérales, d’autres textes juridiques et règlements d’arbitrage, modernes pour la plupart, ayant pour objectif de faire face aux situations nouvelles qu’engendre la mondialisation de l’économie. Cet essor est davantage ressenti plus dans le domaine des investissements notamment avec le développement des Traités Bilatéraux d’Investissement.


Sylvie Bebohi
Doctorante en droit Privé - Université de Picardie Jules Verne (Amiens- France).
Article

Chinese Judicial Methodologies to Determine the Validity of Arbitration Agreements

“Arbitration in Hong Kong and English Law to Apply” as an Example

Authors Song Lianbin and Sophia Juan Yang
AbstractAuthor's information

    As Financial Times says, “it is now difficult to consider African prospects without the mention of China, which in the past decade has increased trade with the continent 10-fold – from $ 10 billion to more than $ 100 billion and has overtaken the US and the Europe as the largest trading partner in some important economies”.1x See Financial Times Special Report on Africa-China Trade, available at <http://media.ft.com/cms/de832bb2-7500-11df-aed7-00144feabdc0.pdf>. Africa has particular needs for cost-effective and time-effective mechanisms for resolving trade disputes with Chinese parties. The most preferred choice is, not surprisingly, commercial arbitration.

Noten


Song Lianbin
Song Lianbin is Professor in Law, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.

Sophia Juan Yang
Sophia Juan Yang is Dr. iur. (University of Basel, Switzerland), LL.M. (Wuhan), former Research Assistent for Global Sales Law Project.

    The demands for corporate sanity and probity have increased tremendously in recent years, especially in the aftermath of the Enron Scandal, whose impacts were so profound that it ushered in a wave of corporate and securities law reforms both in the US and globally. International organizations, civil society, financial institutions, multinational corporations, business men and scholars have joined the bandwagon by being unanimous in their clarion call for more accountability and transparency in the ways companies are managed. Aside the Enron Scandal which exposed managerial frailties, such clarion call might have also been largely influenced by the view that the way a company is managed might reflect to a certain extent the way it does business. Hence an assumption that bad management would not only be detrimental to the shareholders who have invested their fortunes in the company, but might have long-term ramifications on local communities in particular and to the host country in general. For instance, the company might go bankrupt and current investors might pull out, thereby creating unemployment and sending a very bad impression to prospective investors contemplating business ventures in such a host country. The answer to these uncertainties has been the emergence of corporate governance codes and/or pieces of legislation with Sarbanes Oxley Act of the US, being one of the oft-cited examples.


Enga Kameni
LL.B (Hons) (Buea, Cameroon), Maîtrise (Yaoundé II), LL.M (UWC, Cape Town), LL.M (Harvard Law School), Doctoral Candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.
Article

Is Africa Ready for Electronic Commerce?

A Critical Appraisal of the Legal Framework for Ecommerce in Africa

Authors Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
AbstractAuthor's information

    It remains a daunting but not insurmountable challenge to actualize broad-based long term economic development in Africa. Statistics indicate that the poverty level in the continent is very high and the continent’s contribution to global trade remains very low in terms of export outflows. While acknowledging the negative aspects of Africa’s development however, it is important to note that the future may yet become brighter if key steps are taken by law and policy makers in the continent to put in place laws and policies that can facilitate the development process. One of the ways in which economic development can be facilitated is to significantly boost Africa’s contribution to global trade. In this regard, it has been noted that ‘After falling by 2.5% in 2009, export volumes of African countries are expected to increase on average by 3.2% in 2010 and by 5% in 2011.


Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
Dr. iur. (Queen Mary, London), Senior Teaching Fellow, International Trade Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS).
Article

La libre Circulation des marchandises dans l’Union Européenne et dans L’UEMOA

Approche comparative sous un angle commercial

Authors Ousmane Bougouma
Author's information

Ousmane Bougouma
LL.M., Candidat au Doctorat.

    L’uniformité du droit exerce un attrait idéologique sur les esprits épris de systématisation. Comme le souligne le Professeur Delmas-Marty, «le droit a horreur du multiple. Sa vocation c’est l’ordre unifié et hiérarchisé, unifié parce que hiérarchisé». Cette uniformité apparaît comme un idéal de simplicité, de méthode, d’ordre.L’uniformité étant rarement spontanée, l’intervention du législateur est nécessaire. Dans cette optique, l’unification législative apparaît comme un travail d’élaboration scientifique de la solution la plus appropriée aux besoins communs: un droit le plus efficace et le plus simple possible. L’uniformité semble ainsi être porteuse de simplification. Cette simplification résulte de la substitution d’un droit unique à la complexité du système juridique. L’uniformité permettrait aussi d’assurer l’effectivité du droit car «il semble que la multiplication des normes, leur instabilité, leur excessive complexité faite de sédiments successifs pas ou peu cohérents, rend presque impossible un respect scrupuleux du droit».


Gurvan Branellec
Docteur en droit.

    Multinational Companies may result in culture clashes, incompatibility of Western corporate governance and legal resolution strategies. As one of the most successful joint venture models, the high-profile Danone/Wahaha dispute has been accelerated into a two-year legal feud against the infringement of the famous brand of WAHAHA across jurisdictions. The case represents a significant watershed which reflects the status quo of controversies over cooperation and competition in China. Under the current legal framework, Danone’s withdrawal would serve as a wake-up call for both foreign investors and Chinese companies in the dramatically increasing cross-border merger & acquisitions. The seminal case perfectly illustrates unwritten issues about public opinion, nationalism and the rule of law. Danone v. Wahaha has also been commonly conceived as a landmark case through which Chinese side may verify the fairness of the Western judicial system, while the European party may regard it as a touchstone for China’s investment environment as well as the specific sphere of contract spirit. It also offers myriad lessons, including the need for watertight contracts, IP rights, and international arbitrations.


Quingxui Bu
Dr. iur., LL.M. (Queen’s University).

    Even amongst those clauses frequently found in commercial contracts in general and sales contracts in particular, agreed sums enjoy exceptional popularity. Now, when I say ‘agreed sum’, of course I do not talk about the purchase price but about clauses that in traditional terminology are called penalty or liquidated damages clauses.


Pascal Hachem
Dr. iur. (University of Basel, Switzerland), ACIArb, Senior Researcher in the Global Sales Law Project at the Chair of Private Law held by Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schwenzer, LL.M. and Lecturer of Comparative Private Law and International Trade Law at the University of Basel, Switzerland.