ICC calls on Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo

The National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC Ghana, has paid a courtesy call on Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to congratulate her on her appointment and to introduce the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

The delegation was comprised of the Chairman of ICC Ghana, Alhaji Asoma Banda; Ghana’s representative to the Court, Nene Amegashie; Fmr Attorney General, Mrs Marietta Brew Opong; Mr. Adu Kusi and the Secretary General of ICC Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame.

The delegation briefed the Chief Justice on the work of ICC Ghana and the ICC International Court of Arbitration. The visit was also to inform her of some of the programmes that ICC Ghana is working on to help train lawyers and judges – especially in the area of dispute resolution.

Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, welcoming the delegate in her goodwill message said: “The intentions couldn’t have come at a better time, with the numerous cases in the commercial courts which are not necessary – particularly with passing of the ADR act which encourages parties to go for arbitration. But the issues have always boiled down to the issue of credibility, because this avenue will be sought when parties are confident that the case will be handled genuinely and judgement be fair”.

She expressed her excitement that a well-recognised body like the ICC, which has gotten systems in place, is embarking on a project like this.

She recounted her experience in Mauritius, which is gradually becoming a place for Arbitration in Africa, and said that ICC Ghana should liaise with the Judicial Training Institute on the development of training programmes for lawyers and judges.

The Chief Justice thanked the delegation for the visit, and said it was special to her since the ICC’s work compliments her own.

ICC Chairman AlhajI Asoma Banda stated that the International Court of Arbitration is the world’s leading arbitral institution. Since 1923, the ICC International Court of Arbitration has been helping to resolve difficulties in international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment.

He indicated that the ICC performs an essential role by providing individuals, businesses and governments alike with a variety of customisable services for every stage of their disputes.

He said his motivation for promoting the court of arbitration’s work in Ghana came as a result of the numerous judgement debt awards being accrued by the state, which result from lack of adequate training for state attorneys and lack of information – particularly in cases where ADR avenues could have been employed.

ICC Ghana, with support from the world business organisation ICC, will be running training programmes in international commercial arbitration.

Approximately 10 percent of ICC arbitrations involve a state or a state entity.  ICC arbitration is chosen for disputes involving states or state entities in all parts of the world, although there is a concentration of cases from sub-Saharan Africa, Central and West Asia, Central and Eastern Europe.

Between them, cases from these regions account for about 80 percent of ICC arbitrations involving states and state entities.

Cases cover both commercial and investment disputes. Claims arising out of commercial contracts constitute the largest category of cases, and the most frequent kinds are those relating to construction, maintenance and the operation of facilities or systems.

The Chairman made an official request that the Chief Justice supports ICC Ghana in its effort to make Ghana a place of arbitration, and for the possible setting-up of an ICC hearing centre for sub-Saharan Africa in Accra – such that Ghanaian corporate bodies will be encouraged to use the ICC’s mediation and arbitration rules and clauses in their contracts; and also insist on Ghana as a genuine place for arbitration. This will help save cost, since currently most cases are held overseas; the state and businesses spend so much in getting their cases heard overseas, he stated.

The Chairman thanked the Chief Justice and said ICC Ghana will work on her recommendations, promising that ICC Ghana will do its bit to make her days as Chief Justice successful ones.

Mr. Doni-Kwame informed the Chief Justice that ICC has established a Nominations Committee made up of prominent retired Judges of the Supreme Court to propose arbitrators to the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

He said ICC is the largest, most representative business organisation in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member-companies in over 120 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise.

“A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member-companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues.

“The United Nations, World Trade Organisation, G20 and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through the ICC,” he said.

 

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