Personality of the Month- March 2021

Personality of the Month- March 2021

Personality of the Month- March 2021

Name of arbitrator:

Emmanuel Amofa

Education, selected publications:

Education:

  • BA Law (Hons) – 1994 (University of Ghana)
  • QCL 1996 (Ghana School of Law)
  • Certificate in International Commercial Arbitration – International Law Institute, Washington, DC and Georgetown University, Washington, DC (2003)

Publications:

  • Authored Chapter on Ghana in Bosman Lise (gen ed.) Arbitration in Africa: A Practitioner’s Guide (Kluwer Law International, 2013).
  • Authored Chapter on Ghana Arbitration Centre in Onyema Emilia (gen ed.) The Transformation of Arbitration in Africa: The Role of Arbitral Institutions.
  • The Role and Functions of the Ghana Arbitration Centre (Conference on The Role of Arbitration Institutions in the Development of Arbitration in Africa, AU Commission, Addis Ababa, 23 July 2015; https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/20421/.
  • Executive Interference with Property – A New Outlook (Published in Review of Ghana Law 1996-2000, Vol. XX).

Countries qualified to practice:

Ghana

Language(s):

English

Name of institution:

Amofa & Partners

Area(s) of specialisation:

International and domestic arbitration and ADR, International Commercial and Investment Law, Civil Litigation, Land Law, Petroleum and Energy Law, Legal Sector Reform and Banking Law

Institutional affiliation(s):

  • Member, LCIA African Users Council
  • Panel of Arbitrators, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
  • Member, Ghana Bar Association

Please provide a brief background of yourself and your experience working on disputes in Africa?

I am the Managing Partner of Amofa & Partners, a law firm which specializes predominantly in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Prior to the establishment of Amofa & Partners, I have been the Administrator of the Ghana Arbitration Centre since its incorporation in 1996, a role in which I have intricately been involved in the promotion of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. I have appeared as counsel in court for various local and foreign firms in civil disputes. I have served as secretary to arbitral tribunals such as the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC. I have also served as sole arbitrator and a member of panel of arbitrators in cases under the Rules and Procedures of the Ghana Arbitration Centre and other ad hoc arbitrations. I have appeared as lead counsel before international arbitration panels in a number of disputes. Emmanuel is a lecturer in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Ghana School of Law and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law. I have delivered a number of papers at domestic and international fora on arbitration.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge facing practitioners working on disputes in Africa? How do you think this challenge can be tackled?

Challenges

The reluctance of stakeholders, particularly African governments, to engage African arbitration practitioners as counsel and arbitrators in international arbitration.

Lack of negotiating skills to ensure the use of African arbitration institutions to administer arbitration originating from Africa.

The selection of countries outside African jurisdictions as the seat of arbitration proceedings.

The over reliance on litigation by businesses located in Africa as the preferred option for dispute resolution.

Resolution

Engagement with responsible officials of African governments to change the perennial attitude of appointing counsel and arbitrators outside Africa.

African arbitration practitioners should demonstrate readiness to take up the task of acting as counsel and arbitrators in international arbitration.

Continuous building of capacity of arbitration practitioners in Africa.

African arbitration institutions should be equipped with technical and managerial expertise to administer international arbitration. The pooling of resources by sister African arbitration institutions to provide higher standards in administering arbitrations in Africa.

Sensitization of business concerns in Africa on the need to resort to arbitration as a viable mechanism for resolving their commercial disputes.

What are your thoughts on the prospects of the recent UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement?

While the UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement is intended to maximize trade relationship and stimulate economic growth in Ghana and the UK, it provides a fertile ground for dispute resolution practitioners to position themselves and be prepared to resolve potential trade disputes that may arise from the UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement.

As the administrator of the Ghana Arbitration Centre, how would you describe the Centre’s attitude towards virtual hearings in arbitration?

The Ghana Arbitration Centre has embraced virtual hearings in arbitration following the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the year 2020, virtual hearings in arbitration have become the norm and physical arbitration hearings are dwindling during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems to me that it will become part of the mode of arbitration hearings even after the defeat of the corona virus.

With more African States acceding to the New York Convention, what are your thoughts on the enforcement trends in Ghana? What is the current disposition of Ghanaian courts to enforcement of foreign arbitral awards?

Ghana’s law on arbitration has provided an elaborate framework for the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The New York Convention has been incorporated in the arbitration law of Ghana as a schedule to put beyond doubt Ghana’s preparedness to give effect to the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The courts in Ghana have been willing to enforce foreign awards.

What advice do you have for young practitioners who are interested in developing a career in arbitration?

Young practitioners should build capacity by attending courses, conferences and seminars on arbitration. This should be complemented by the mentoring programmes organised by seasoned arbitration practitioners. Young arbitration practitioners should also join arbitration groups or institutions which aim at fostering and facilitating arbitration practice.

 

 

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