Nana Dr S.K.B Asante
Nana Dr S.K.B Asante
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Legal luminary and arbitration advocate, Nana Dr S.K.B Asante says there is an urgent need for more Ghanaian lawyers to specialise and build their expertise in arbitration, to enable Ghana to benefit more from the global arbitration industry.

According to him, the growing rate of international investments and transactions in Ghana, necessitates a critical mass of Ghanaian arbitration experts to actively manage cases that emanate from such international commercial transactions.

As a compelling case to advance arbitration practice in Ghana, Dr Asante, who is Chairman of the Ghana Arbitration Centre, expressed worry that the failure of the Ghana Bar to embrace arbitration and develop the skills in executing it “literally means ceding a major part of modern legal practice to foreign law firms.”

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Addressing the opening session of a domestic and international arbitration training workshop in Accra by the Ghana Arbitration Centre, Dr Asante noted that following Ghana’s discovery of oil, an avalanche of international trade, loan and construction agreements continue to be executed.

Nana Dr S.K.B Asante (right) in a chat with his junior colleagues, Ace Ankomah(left),Thaddeus Sory (second left) and Emmanuel Amofa, at the workshop
Nana Dr S.K.B Asante (right) in a chat with his junior colleagues, Ace Ankomah(left),Thaddeus Sory (second left) and Emmanuel Amofa, at the workshop

Like other African States, he said the government and private parties involved in the negotiating international business transactions such as loan, trade, petroleum and mining agreements, industrial joint ventures, management agreements, international procurement and supply contracts, bilateral and international investment agreements, have come to a realization that foreign parties to these transactions, including governments, foreign banks, investors, suppliers and contractors, all insist in Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) settlement mechanism, which is invariably international arbitration.

“Such parties predominately prefer international arbitration because of the strong perception that an international forum for settling disputes provides some insurance against possible bias by a national judiciary,” he said.

Notwithstanding that realism, he noted that the “African experience of international commercial arbitration is bedeviled by a woeful lack of experience and enlightenment. African parties to international commercial transaction often find themselves hauled before international arbitral fora in distant capitals that invoke and apply procedures, rules and laws, and issue rulings of which they have little understanding. The results are often disastrous for African parties.”

He reminded Ghanaian lawyers that by avoiding involvement in international commercial arbitration, they are basically qualifying themselves for the effective representation of their local and foreign clients at a time Ghana is experience a boom in international commercial transactions.

He cited the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, which gives investors the right to insist on international arbitration as a mechanism of settling disputes with the government, as an indication of the opportunities in arbitration.

In addition, he urged the Ghana Bar to take a cue from Nigerian lawyers who have taken the lead in the field, resulting in a thriving arbitration practice in that country, sustained by a strong Arbitration Bar.

In that regard, he advised the members of the Ghana Bar “not to deny themselves of the opportunity to participate effectively in this exciting prospect of arbitration by joining the Arbitration Bar.”

By Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com

VIAEdmund Mingle
SOURCEADRDAILY
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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.