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.


Enhancing Enforcement under Brussels Ia and Beyond – Final (Online) Conference

The Université Côte d’Azur will host the final conference of the EU co-funded research Project En2BrIa, Enhancing Enforcement under Brussels Ia.

Speakers will deal with transport matters and Article 67 Brussels Ia Regulation (prof. Rosario Espinosa Calabuig); Article 67 Brussels Ia Regulation and Directives in special matters (prof. Laura Carpaneto); GDPR, international treaties concluded by the EU, and “Optional Regulations” (Dr. Stefano Dominelli); Connections, disconnections and fragmentation in international civil procedure (Mrs Paula-Carmel Ettori, Mrs Jessica Sanchez and Mrs Chirouette Elmasry).

The event will take place on Monday 23 November 2020 at 09:00 through ZOOM platform.

Participation is free; more info, specially about the access to the ZOOM channel, may be found here

Request for preliminary ruling from Bulgaria: Recognition of foreign birth certificate

The Administrative Court of the City of Sofia, Bulgaria, has recently submitted a request for a preliminary ruling revolving around the recognition of a foreign birth certificate issued by another EU Member State (Case C-490/20):

The case concerns a refusal of a municipality in Sofia to issue a Bulgarian birth certificate to a child of two female same sex mothers of Bulgarian and UK nationality who entered into a civil marriage in Gibraltar, UK. The child was born in Spain, where a birth certificate  was issued on which it was recorded that mothers of the child were both a Bulgarian national, designated ‘Mother A’, and a UK national, designated ‘Mother’, both persons being female. The municipality refused to issue the requested birth certificate because the applicants did not point out who was the biological mother, intending most probably to issue the certificate only for one mother. Bulgaria is one of the few EU Member States without access to either same sex marriage or any type of civil partnership.

Update HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention Repository

In preparation of the Conference on the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention on 13/14 September 2021, planned to be taking place on campus of the University of Bonn, Germany, we are offering here a Repository of contributions to the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention. Please email us if you miss something in it, we will update immediately…

We all benefited from your contributions at the Video Pre-Conference Roundtable on 29 October 2020. Our sincere thanks go to all the speakers and participants who pushed further the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding.

Update of 17 November 2020: New entries are printed bold.

Please also check the “official” Bibliograghy of the HCCH for the instrument.


  1. Explanatory Reports