UNCITRAL’s Regional Engagement in African and Latin American Dispute Resolution Reform

A recently published article in the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution by Dr. Erick Komolo and Shahla Ali, examines dispute resolution law reforms in Africa and Latin America. Using the prism of regional coordinating activities facilitated by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), regional law reforms, and domestic law reforms in the two regions, it offers insights into the potential of UNCITRAL’s soft law instruments in shaping institutional and legal development in dispute resolution in the region. While legislative efforts indicating heightened attention to advancing dispute resolution practice in these regions have been on-going, continued scope for integrating standards of transparency and enforcement of awards exists.

The article is divided in four parts. In part one, the authors present a background situational analysis of the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, specifically arbitration and conciliation, in the areas of investor-state and direct foreign investments generally in both regions. In the second part, the authors highlight the various regional UNCITRAL conferences, intersession meetings and stakeholder engagements in both Africa and Latin America in a bid to assess regional and international efforts toward reform and addressing the diverse challenges faced in both regions in the adoption and implementation of UNCITRAL soft-law instruments. In the third part, the authors highlight specific efforts at adopting UNCITRAL soft law in the two regions and their impact on dispute resolution developments. The article emphasizes the possible impact on arbitration rules, arbitration law, transparency rules, conciliation rules, and investor-state arbitration reform. In the last part, the authors examine some of the challenges faced by African and Latin American States in the implementation of UNCITRAL soft law, and suggest a preliminary reform menu that could be considered by UNCITRAL and other stakeholders in ongoing efforts to reform dispute resolution systems in the two regions along the lines of UNCITRAL soft law.

The article is available here.

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