The Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (“CCJA”) is part of the legal system of the Organization for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (“OHADA”).1 It was created by the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (“OHADA Treaty”) in 1993.2 It is based in Abidjan (Ivory Coast).
II. CCJA's roles
A. CCJA as a supranational court
It ensures the uniform interpretation and application of OHADA legislation. Its jurisdiction includes reviewing draft OHADA legislation, hearing appeals on OHADA laws from national courts and giving advisory opinions to OHADA Council of Ministers, Member States and national courts on OHADA related cases (Art. 14 of the OHADA Treaty).6
B. CCJA as an arbitration institution
In addition to the CCJA Rules, the OHADA framework offers a choice with another, distinct, arbitration regime, not administered by the CCJA: the Uniform Act on Arbitration (“UAA”), which governs both domestic and international ad hoc arbitration proceedings and applies when the seat of the arbitration is in an OHADA Member State.12
III. Similarities and distinctive features of CCJA arbitration
A. Jurisdiction with respect to investment cases
B. No emergency and expedited procedure
C. Preliminary meeting and minutes
Pursuant to Article 15, the tribunal must convene a preliminary meeting within forty-five days of the date on which the file has been transmitted to it. Minutes of this meeting include:
D. Scrutiny of the award
E. Annulment proceedings
Article 29 of the CCJA Rules provides for the right to seek annulment of the award (that the parties may waive provided the award is not contrary to international public policy). The petition is filed before the CCJA Court, not Member States’ courts.19 In that respect, the CCJA provides an integrated system somewhat similar to ICSID annulment proceedings before ad hoc committees.20
An award may be annulled in the following cases:
F. Revision and third-party opposition
G. Enforcement of awards
Exequatur must be requested from the CCJA Court (Article 30). When exequatur is granted, the award becomes enforceable in all OHADA Member States as if they were rulings made by the national courts of the State in which the award is being enforced.26 (See Enforcement of OHADA Awards).
Internal Rules of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration relating to arbitration, 2 June 1999.
Assiehué, E.A., Du Pac de Marsoulies, C., Lauriol, T., Raynaud, E. and Tavaut, M., Règlement d’arbitrage CCJA, 2018.
Fénéon, A., Tchakoua, J. M. and Aka, N., Le nouveau droit de l’arbitrage et de la médiation en Afrique (OHADA), 2018.
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