Ulla Liukkunen on Chinese private international law, comparative law and international commercial arbitration – launch of Ius Comparatum

Guest post by Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture

The International Academy of Comparative Law launched a new open access publication in November 2020. Volume no 1 on the use of comparative law methodology in international arbitration contains articles by Emmanuel Gaillard, Sebastián Partida, Charles-Maurice Mazuy, S.I. Strong, Johannes Landbrecht, Morad El Kadmiri, Marco Torsello, Ulla Liukkunen, Alyssa King, Alexander Ferguson, Dorothée Goertz and Luis Bergolla as well as introductory remarks on the topic by the Secretary-General of the Academy, Diego P. Fernández Arroyo.

The volume no 1 is available on aidc-iacl.org/journal.


Report on the ERA conference of 29-30 October 2020 on ‘Recent Developments in the European Law of Civil Procedure’

This report has been prepared by Carlos Santaló Goris, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg.

On 29-30 October 2020, ERA – the Academy of European Law – organized a conference on “Recent Developments in the European Law of Civil Procedure”, offering a comprehensive overview of civil procedural matters at the European and global level. The program proved very successful in conveying the status quo of, but also a prospective outlook on, the topics that currently characterise the debates on cross-border civil procedure, including the Brussels I-bis Regulation and 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention, the digitalisation of access to justice, the recent developments on cross-border service of documents and taking of evidence, and judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters in the aftermath of Brexit.

Online Symposium on Private International Law in Nigeria

The editors of Afronomicslaw.org have invited Dr. Chukwuma Okoli and Professor Richard Frimpong Oppong to organise a symposium on Private International Law in Nigeria. The purpose of the symposium is to discuss important issues on the subject of private international law in Nigeria with principal reference to Chukwuma and Richard’s recent pioneer work on the subject that was published under the Hart Studies in Private International Law. Drawing on over five hundred Nigerian cases, relevant statutes, and academic commentaries, the book examines the rules, principles, and doctrines in Nigerian law for resolving cases involving cross-border issues. It is the first book-length treatise devoted to the full spectrum of private international law issues in Nigeria.

Frontiers in Civil Justice – An Online Debriefing

Conference ‘Frontiers in Civil Justice’ held on 16 and 17 November 2020 (online)

By Jos Hoevenaars & Betül Kas, Erasmus University Rotterdam (postdocs ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice)

As announced earlier on this blog, the Conference Frontiers in Civil Justice organized by the ERC team together with Ilja Tillema of Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam, took place on 16 and 17 November 2020.

Cross Border Dispute Resolution under AfCFTA: A Call for the Establishment of a Pan-African Harmonised Private International Legal Regime to Actualise Agenda 2063*



Orji Agwu Uka (the author of this piece) is a Senior Associate at Africa Law Practice NG & Company, Lagos. He holds a Masters’ Degree in International Business Law from King’s College London and an LLB from Abia State University, Uturu Nigeria.



Over three score and ten years ago, Professor G. C. Cheshire, then Vinerian Professor of Law at the University of Oxford, issued a clarion call for the wider study of private international law in general and the renaissance of English private international law in particular.[1] As explored below, it is pertinent for African States to respond to that call today, especially within the context of the need to actualise the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, which aims for the establishment of a continental market with the free movement of persons, goods and services which are crucial for deepening economic integration and promoting economic development in Africa.

How Chinese Courts Tackle Parallel Proceeding Issues When Offshore Arbitration Proceeding Is Involved?

(The following case comment is written by Chen Zhi, a PhD candidate at the University of Macau?

Nigeria and AfCFTA: What Role has Private International Law to Play?


Written by Abubakri Yekini, Lecturer at Lagos State University, Nigeria.


The idea of economic integration is not new to Africa. It is a phenomenon that has been conceived as far back as the 1960s when many African countries gained independence. In 1980, the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union) came up a blueprint for the progressive development of Africa: the Lagos Plan of Action for the Economic Development of Africa, 1980–2000. However, the first concrete step towards achieving this objective was taken in 1991 when the African Heads of State and Government (AHSG) signed the treaty establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) (Abuja Treaty) in Nigeria.  One of the operational stages of the AEC was the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area by 2028. In 2013, the AHSG further signed a Solemn Declaration during the 50th anniversary of the African Union. The Declaration sets another blueprint for a 50-year development trajectory for Africa (Agenda 2068). Item C of that Declaration is a commitment from the Member States to the speedy implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area. At last, this is now a reality.

Determining the applicable law of an arbitration agreement when there is no express choice of a governing law – Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi A.S. v OOO Insurance Company Chubb [2020] UKSC 38.

This brief note considers aspects of the recent litigation over the identification of an unspecified applicable law of an arbitration agreement having an English seat. Though the UK Supreme Court concluded that the applicable law of the arbitration agreement itself was, if unspecified, usually to be the same as that of the contract to which the arbitration agreement refers, there was an interesting division between the judges on the method of determining the applicable law of the arbitration agreement from either the law of the arbitral seat (the view favoured by the majority) or from the applicable law of the underlying contract (the view favoured by the minority). As will become clear, the author of this note finds the views of the minority to be more compelling than those of the majority.

The enforcement of Chinese money judgments in common law courts

By Jack Wass (Stout Street Chambers, Wellington, New Zealand)


In the recent decision of Hebei Huaneng Industrial Development Co Ltd v Shi,[1] the High Court of New Zealand was faced with an argument that a money judgment of the Higher People’s Court of Hebei should not be enforced because the courts of China are not independent of the political arms of government and therefore do not qualify as “courts” for the purpose of New Zealand’s rules on the enforcement of foreign judgments.

The High Court rejected that argument: complaints of political interference may be relevant  if a judgment debtor can demonstrate a failure to accord natural justice in the individual case, or another recognized defence to enforcement, but there was no basis for concluding that Chinese courts were not courts at all.

The Contractual Function of a Choice of Court Agreement in Nigerian Jurisprudence (Part 2)

  1. Introduction

In my last blog post, I made mention of a Nigerian Court of Appeal decision that applied the principle of contract law exclusively to a foreign jurisdiction clause.[1] In that case, applying the principles of Nigerian contract law, the Nigerian Court of Appeal held that the alleged choice of court agreement in favour of Benin Republic was unenforceable because the terms were not clear and unambiguous in conferring jurisdiction on a foreign forum.[2]

The purpose of this blog post is to analyse a more recent Nigerian Court of Appeal decision where the court gave full contractual effect to the parties’ choice of court agreement by strictly enforcing a Dubai choice of court agreement.[3]

2. Facts