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Year 2011 x

    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

Unification of General Contract Law in Africa

The Case of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
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.

    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).

    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.

    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

OHADA’s Proposed Uniform Act on Contract Law

Formal Law for the Informal Sector

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
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).

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Stefan Somers, book review of Bart. J. de Vos, Horizontale werking van grondrechten. Een kritiek


Stefan Somers
Stefan Somers is a research assistant at the VUB (Free University of Brussels) and is preparing his Phd in the field of human rights.
Article

Access_open Techno-regulation and law: rule, exception or state of exception?

A comment to Han Somsen and Luigi Corrias

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords code, citizenship, trans-generational justice, agency, ethics and politics
Authors Oliver W. Lembcke
AbstractAuthor's information

    Luigi Corrias challenged Han Somsen’s plea for an effective regulation in the wake of an impending ecological catastrophe. This article takes up some of the arguments that have been exchanged: First, the paper criticises Corrias’s call for an ‘eco-logos’ as an ethical evasion of the political dimension that regulations aiming at a radical policy change necessarily entail. Secondly, it disputes the assumption that Somsen’s argument invites the notion of Carl Schmitt’s state of exception. Thirdly, the paper discusses the possible effects that code law might have on the concepts of agency (lack of autonomy) and citizenship (loss of justice).


Oliver W. Lembcke
Oliver W. Lembcke is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
Article

Access_open De halve waarheid van het populisme

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords populism, self-inclusion, vitalism, democracy, Lefort
Authors Bert Roermund
AbstractAuthor's information

    Does populism add value to the political debate by showing that the ideals of Enlightenment are too abstract and rationalist to understand politics in democratic terms? The paper argues two theses, critically engaging Lefort’s work: (i) instead of offering valuable criticism, populism feeds on the very principle that Enlightenment has introduced: a polity rests on self-inclusion with reference to a quasi-transcendent realm; (ii) populism’s appeal to simple emotions feeds on the vitalist (rather than merely institutionalist) pulse in any polity. Both dimensions of politics are inevitable as well as elusive. In particular with regard to the vitalist pulse we have no response to the half-truths of populism, as both national and constitutional patriotism seem on the wrong track.


Bert Roermund
Bert van Roermund has held the Chair in Legal Philosophy at Tilburg University and is currently Professor of (Political) Philosophy at the same University as well as 2010-2011 Visiting Professor at K.U. Leuven.

Klaus Heine

Wesley Kaufmann

Arjen van Witteloostuijn

Nathan Betancourt

Barbara Krug
Both authors are affiliated with the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, nbetancourt@rsm.nl, bkrug@rsm.nl.

Christian Kirchner
Professor Dr. iur. Dr. rer. pol. Dr. h.c. Christian Kirchner, LL.M. (Harvard), Humboldt University Berlin, School of Law / School of Business and Economics.

Hans-Jürgen Wagener
Dr. Hans-Jrgen Wagener is Professor emeritus of Europa-Universitt Viadrina at Frankfurt (Oder) and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. The author is obliged to several commentators and referees for valuable criticism.

Elaine Mak
Associate Professor of Jurisprudence at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Law. Contact: mak@law.eur.nl. The research for this article was supported by a post-doctoral VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). I would like to thank Klaus Heine for the opportunity to contribute to this special issue. Thanks are also due to Jan Schnellenbach, who acted as the discussant for an earlier version of this article at the Erasmus Law Review seminar organised in Rotterdam on 23 June 2011, and to the other participants in this seminar. I would further like to thank the anonymous reviewer of this article for useful comments, as well as Kristin Henrard and Chantal Mak. Any mistakes remain my own.

Carel Smith
Senior Lecturer Legal Theory, Leiden University.
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