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

15 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2020 Last revised: 18 Jun 2020

See all articles by Shahla F. Ali

Shahla F. Ali

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Erick Komolo

Kenya School of Law (KSL); Strathmore University - Strathmore Law School

Date Written: May 25, 2020


This article examines the impact of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on dispute resolution law reforms in Africa and Latin America. Using the prism of regional coordinating activities, 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 essay is divided in four parts. In part one, we 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, we 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, we highlight specific efforts at adopting UNCITRAL soft law in the two regions and their impact on dispute resolution developments. We deliberately emphasise here the possible impact on arbitration rules, arbitration law, transparency rules, conciliation rules, and investor-state arbitration reform. In the last part, we 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.

Keywords: UNCITRAL, Dispute Resolution, Latin America, Africa, Legal Reform, Regional Integration, Legal Harmonization, Diversity

JEL Classification: K01, K19

Suggested Citation

Ali, Shahla F. and Komolo, Erick, UNCITRAL’s Engagement in African and Latin American Dispute Resolution Reform (May 25, 2020). Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2020, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2020/029, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3609632

Shahla F. Ali (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Chung Yu Tung Tower (Law), Centennial Campus
Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
(852) 3917 2931 (Phone)
(852) 2559-3543 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.hku.hk/academic_staff/professor-shahla-ali/

Erick Komolo

Kenya School of Law (KSL) ( email )

P.O. Box 30369
Nairobi, 00100

Strathmore University - Strathmore Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 59857
P.O. Box 54668
Nairobi, Nairobi 00200

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