Common Court of Justice and Arbitration of the Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa

Basic Documents

Judges Biographies


The Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (Organisation pour l'harmonisation du droit des affaires en Afrique  OHADA) is a regional international organization that groups together 16 African states, mainly of the Francophone area. Its aim is to harmonize the legal and judicial systems  specifically in the field of business and corporate law  of member States.

Indeed, most of the laws regulating business and corporations in the area date back to the colonial period and no longer correspond to the present economic situation and contemporary international relations. To date, very few legal reforms have taken place. They have been piecemeal and hardly coordinated between the States of the area. Moreover, lack of financial resources, and insufficient training of judges and court staff have made the implementation of such a fragmented legal system unpredictable.

The OHADA aims to restore the confidence of foreign investors and facilitate economic exchanges among the member States by providing them with a set of common and simple laws that suit modern economies, promoting arbitration as a discrete and speedy dispute settlement system in trade-related disputes, improving the training of the judges and the court clerks, preparing for future regional economic integration.

To further these goals, OHADA has been endowed with four distinct organs: the Council of Justice and Financial Ministers (CMJS); a Permanent Secretariat (PS); the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA); and the Regional School of Magistracy (ERSUMA)

The CMJS adopts by consensus (actes uniforme) uniforme , uniform laws that are directly applicable in the legal systems of member States.

The CCJA is a body of seven judges, the function of which is to provide advice to the Council of Justice and Financial Ministers on proposed uniform laws before they are adopted by it, and to act as court of cassation, in place of national courts of cassation, on all issues concerning uniform laws.

When a case concerning uniform law is pending before a national court, the case can be referred to the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration by either party or by the national judge. Finally, the Common Court monitors and facilitates arbitrations. Namely, it appoints arbitrators when they cannot be chosen by the parties. Second, it monitors the proceedings so as to ensure their impartiality. Finally, it scrutinizes the arbitral awards before they are rendered, but it does not have the power to impose changes on their substance.