A Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Justice Nene Amegatcher has called for an urgent and robust conflict of Laws regime in Ghana.
According to him, Ghana finds itself in a globalized world where citizens live abroad however there exist very few areas in the country’s conflict of law rules such as recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards where significant legislated rules exist.
He indicates that there exist many potential conflicts of law issues on which Ghana’s Court is expected to make interpretations or pronouncements.
“Under other areas of the Ghanaian laws, conflict of Laws in Ghana is not dominated by Legislation. There are just a few areas where significant legislated rules exist such as the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments provided for in Sections 81-99 of the Courts Act of 1993(Act 459) and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards also provided for in Section 59 of the ADR Acts 2010 (Act 798) and the Reproduction of the New York Convention in the same Act.”
“Even within the legislated areas, there is a lot of room for Judicial interpretation and exercise of discretion. There are many potential conflicts of law issues on which our courts are yet to take advantage of the opportunities to make pronouncements,” he noted.
Speaking at the launch of the book, “ Conflict of Laws in Ghana” written by the Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyabeng and Prof Richard Oppong, he intimated that the ripeness and need for Ghana to have an urgent conflict of Laws regime is premised on the fact that many Ghanaians abroad enter into relationships such as marriage, and even commercial transactions that ought to be recognized in Ghana and sometimes lead to conflict in Ghanaian courts.
Also, he recounted his personal experience of Conflict of Laws when he reviewed and discussed the popular case of Societe Generale Vrs Alchemy,1972. A case in which a contract was drawn in French Language but executed in Ghana involving an Israeli National as works Supervisor of an external French Company.
He continued that the contract was terminated before the expiration of the probation period and in the claim for damages, the court was however confronted with whether to apply French Law of Ghana Law.
Moreover, the Supreme Court Justice referring to the book, outlined some steps to be taken by Ghana’s court such as the adoption of a flexible approach to the determination of the essential validity of marriage with the view to saving contracted marriages rather that declaring them void, and future development of a common-law regime in Ghana to allow the enforcement of International Judgments like that of the ECOWAS Court.