Tag Archive for: Online Symposium

Book Symposium Introduction -Private International Law in Nigeria (Hart Publishing, 2020)

Written by Dr. Chukwuma Samuel Adesina Okoli, Post-Doctoral Researcher, T.M.C. Asser Institute and Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong, Associate Professor, University of Bradford, School of Law

We earlier announced that the editors of Afronomicslaw.org invited Chukwuma and Richard to organise a symposium on Private International Law in Nigeria. The introduction to the symposium has now been published today in Afronomicslaw.org. Other posts on the symposium will be posted daily this week.

Private International Law in Nigeria

This Symposium focuses on the recent publication: Private International Law in Nigeria. For many, Nigeria needs no introduction: it is a federal country consisting of thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. With increased cross-border transactions and investments, the significance of private international law (or conflict of laws) – the body of law that aims to resolve claims involving foreign elements – has become more accentuated than ever. Indeed, private international law rules have sometimes been invoked in resolving disputes with inter-state dimensions within the federation, especially on jurisdiction and choice of law matters. Conflict of laws has also been used to resolve disputes involving internal conflicts between various customary laws and between customary laws and the Nigerian Constitution or enabling statues, especially in the area of family law. In essence, because of its federal structure, private international law is relevant in both the inter-state and international litigation in Nigeria.

Prior to the publication of Private International Law in Nigeria, there was no comprehensive treatise on the subject in Nigeria. The Book aims to fill that academic void: drawing on over five hundred Nigerian cases, statutes, and academic commentaries, the Book examines mainly jurisdiction (in inter-state and international disputes), choice of law, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and international arbitral awards. It also examines remedies that affect foreign judicial proceedings such as antisuit injunction, and international judicial assistance to serve legal process and take evidence.

This Symposium brings together the reflections of four scholars on the book and explores some of the issues arising therefrom. In the Book, we examine the common law regime for enforcing foreign judgments in Nigeria and reveal the under-developed state of the law. Anthony Kennedy, a barrister at Serle Court, focuses on this aspect of the book to forcefully argue for a “reawakening of the common law action” to enforce foreign judgments. Kennedy is critical, and rightly so, of how the legal profession and the courts have treated the common law regime notwithstanding clear authority from the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the statutory regime for enforcing foreign judgments was not designed to kill off the common law regime. Kennedy argues that by not side-lining the common law regime, Nigeria may be able to partake in the judicial development of the regime that is going on in other parts of the common law world, as well as international projects such as the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters, 2019.

Richard Mike Mlambe, an Attorney and Lecturer at University of Malawi- The Polytechnic, picks up the theme of reform and judicial development of private international law, in a comparative discussion on the bases of jurisdiction in an action to enforce a foreign judgment. Mlambe commends Canada’s “real and substantial connection” basis of international competence. The real and substantial connection test promotes the liberal flow of judgments across borders. Mlambe calls on Nigeria and other common law jurisdictions to join Canada on its “lonely revolution”.

Dr Abubakri Yekini, a Lecturer in Law at Lagos State University, explores the enforceability of jurisdiction agreements in Nigeria drawing on the Book’s discussion which reveals, in the words of Yekini that “it is difficult to give a straight answer on whether jurisdiction agreements are enforced by Nigerian courts” – a state of affairs which he rightly argues creates uncertainties and is not good for international business transactions. Yekini examines three significant challenges to the enforcement of jurisdiction agreements in Nigeria, namely the courts’ mischaracterisation of such agreement as “ouster clauses”; mandatory statutes vesting exclusive jurisdiction in Nigeria courts; and the misapplication of the doctrine of forum non conveniens in cases involving breach of jurisdiction agreement, instead of the strong cause test. Yekini makes an impassioned plea for Nigerian courts to “promote party autonomy”, and a call on Nigeria to become party to the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, 2005.

Orji Agwu Uka, a Senior Associate at Africa Law Practice (ALP), reflects on the state of private international law in Nigeria and calls for its wider study. Indeed, as Uka rightly acknowledges, for more than a decade, scholars have lamented the level of interest in private international law in Africa. Happily, private international law in Africa can hardly now be described as “the Cinderella subject seldom studied [and] little understood”. Uka undertakes a broad but careful review of the book – highlighting various topics examined in the book but focusing especially on the law on jurisdiction in international and inter-state matters. Uka commends Private International Law in Nigeria for filling a significant academic void on the Nigerian legal landscape.

It is our hope that the Book and this Symposium, in addition to being a rich legal resource for lawyers, judges and legislators would spur on further study of private international law in Nigeria, and Africa. Indeed, the Nigerian Group on Private International Law(“NGPIL”) has already been established and “set sail”. NGPIL aims to “(1) to improve the law in Nigeria in matters relating to private international law (“PIL”) (2) to persuade the Nigerian government to accede to the Hague Conventions on PIL (3) to liaise with other experts, groups, and research centres on PIL on a global level (4) to nurture, guide and develop the legal mechanism and framework for PIL in Nigeria (5) to be the collective voice of PIL experts for the Nigerian government, the judiciary, lawyers and other relevant stakeholders and, (6) to improve the links and communication between PIL experts in Africa”. The book: Private International Law in Nigeria will certainly make the work of NGPIL less daunting.



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.

Four papers have now been selected for the symposium, which will first be published in Afronomicslaw.org sometime in December this year, and later in conflictoflaws.net, where Chukwuma is an editor. The names of the persons presenting are Dr. Abubakri Yekini (Lecturer in Law at Lagos State University, Nigeria), Orji Uka (Senior Associate at African Law Practice, Nigeria), Anthony Kennedy (Associate Member of Serle Court, England), and Richard Mlambe (Lecturer in Law at University of Malawi – Polytechnic).

Adoption ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure and webinar (6 November)

The ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure were adopted by the European Law Institute and Unidroit in 2020. It consists of a set of main principles and rules covering a wide array of topics in the area of European civil procedure. It contains 245 rules in twelve parts, dedicated to  general provisions, rules on parties, case management, commencement of proceedings, proceedings preparatory to a final hearing, access to information and evidence, judgment, res iudicata and lis pendens, means of review, provisional and protective measures, collective proceedings and costs.

Aiming at transforming the ALI-Unidroit Principles on Transnational Civil Procedure (2004) to make them suitable for the European regional context, the groundwork was laid at an exploratory workshop in Vienna in October 2013. The project kicked off in 2014, when the first three working groups were established. In the following years, five more working groups dedicated to specific topics were added, and in 2016, the Structure group was tasked with coordinating the work of the different working groups, filling the gaps, and securing a coherent set of model rules to be used by European and national legislators in particular. In collaboration with a task force charged with the (overview of) the translation of the Rules into French, the work was completed in 2020. It was approved by the ELI Council on 15 July and by ELI Membership on 5 August, and approved by the Unidroit Governing Council on 24 September 2020. This project, involving some 45 academics and practitioners participating in the working groups as well as a Steering group, advisory members from all over the world, and European and international institutions as observers, is the most encompassing set of model rules on European Civil Procedure.

A series of conferences and seminars were held over the past years and will be held to discuss the Rules, including an expected celebratory ELI-Unidroit event that had to be postponed due to Covid-19. A Nordic conference organized by the Swedish Network for European Studies and Uppsala University will take place on 15-16 March 2021. More information is available here.


Erasmus School of Law of Erasmus University Rotterdam is organizing a mini-webinar on Friday, 6 November 2020 from 11.30-13 hrs CET. You can register for free here until 6 November at 9 am CET.

The ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure: soft law shaping the future of European Civil Procedure?

11.20 – 11.30     Welcome and opening

11.30 – 11.50    Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Utrecht University)

Creation, main principles, and perspectives of the ELI-Unidroit Model Rules

11.50 – 12.00    Discussion

12.00 – 12.20    Eva Storskrubb (Uppsala University)

Cost Rules in the ELI-Unidroit Model Rules

12.20 -12.40      Masood Ahmed (University of Leicester)

Costs, Management & ADR: an English view on the ELI-Unidroit Model Rules

12.40 – 13.00    Discussion

This webinar is organized in the context of the ongoing ERC project Building EU Civil Justice at Erasmus School of Law (PI: Xandra Kramer), financed by the European Research Council and anticipates the Vici project Affordable Access to Justice, financed by the Dutch Research Council that will kick off in December 2020.


Annual research meeting Dutch ILA branch: International Law for a Digitised World

The ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ROYAL NETHERLANDS SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (ILA Dutch Branch) is online accessible on Friday 6 NOVEMBER 2020 (13:30 – 16:30 CET).  

 Over the decades, international law adapted in many ways to the quickly evolving, multi-facetted digital reality, and one of the central questions now is whether or not concepts and ideas developed in the ‘predigital era’ still fit the digitalised world. Is international law, both public and private, ready for the digital era or has it rather been a ‘fragmented follower of developments’ and should it fundamentally rethink a number of notions and approaches? 

Four speakers will present their papers on the adaptability of (private) international law to the digital environment. Two officials of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (M. BUSSTRA and W. THEEUWEN) will give an overview on “International Law in the Context of Cyber Operations”. Y. BURUMA, a Justice of the Supreme Court of The Netherlands, will present his views on “International Law and Cyberspace – Issues of Sovereignty and the Common Good”, while D. SVANTESSON, Professor at the University of Bond (Australia) will consider whether “International Law [Is] Ready for the (Already Ongoing) Digital Age: Perspectives from Private and Public International Law”. 

There is ample room for debate after these presentations. Given the topical theme and the open debate with public and private international lawyers, this event may be of interest to some readers of this blog. Should you be interested, please register no later than 3 November 2020 by sending an email to info@knvir.org.

Thanks to Marta Pertegás Sender for providing the text

Webinar on COVID-19 and international child abduction

A free webinar to hear experts of MK Family Law (Washington) and Grotius Chambers (The Hague) discuss pertinent issues relating to international child abduction in times of COVID-19. 

Date: 8 April 2020
Time: 3 pm (CET Amsterdam)

COVID-19 has a significant impact on all aspects of our lives. Since the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic, numerous States have implemented travel bans in an attempt to contain its spread. Moreover, States have closed courts and adjourned or even cancelled hearings.

Such restrictions cause direct impacts on transnational families. They may hinder, in particular, the prompt return of children in cases of international child abduction. Parents may encounter difficulties in commencing proceedings before the competent authorities, as well as complying with an agreement or return order.

Melissa Kucinski of MK Family Law and Janaina Albuquerque Azevedo Gomes, Expert in international Child Abduction law, will consider what the current situation may mean for parents. A particular focus will be the prompt return of children under the 1980 HCCH Child Abduction Convention.

Registrations are now open and the Eventbrite Registration Form can be found here.

Registration is required to receive the webinar login credentials. For further information, please contact info@grotiuschambers.com.