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​Research Centre for Private International Law in Emerging Countries

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Undertake and publish research in the field of private international law, especially in the context of emerging jurisdictions

Draft regulations, conventions, model laws and other legislative instruments in the field of private international law for utilisation by the various organs and Member States of the African Union as well as other stakeholders

Act as repository library for the Hague Conference on Private International Law and for UNIDROIT

Provide training and arrange conferences, seminars and workshops in the field of private international law

Establish a network of experts in the field of private international law, especially in emerging countries



The principal project of the Research Centre for Private International Law in Emerging Countries at the University of Johannesburg is the drafting of the proposed African Principles of Commercial Private International Law. The various sets of principles, as model laws, could be used by national legislators on the continent and African economic integration organisations, particularly the African Union, in, respectively, domestic legislation and regional or supranational laws of a soft or binding nature. The South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation has undertaken to request the African Union to formally endorse the project.

The existence of a reliable transnational legal infrastructure in respect of international commercial law, including commercial private international law, is a prerequisite for investor confidence, inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, and the ultimate alleviation of poverty on the African continent. The proposed African Principles may contribute to sustainable growth on a long-term basis. They are essential in the further development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which was established in 2018.

The African Principles of Commercial Private International Law were originally envisaged to deal with international contracts of sale; international commercial contracts; recognition and enforcement of foreign civil and commercial judgments; and jurisdiction in international civil and commercial matters. The set of principles on recognition and enforcement has become redundant with the acceptance of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements and the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters. The principles on jurisdiction will probably follow the same path, with the possibility of a new Hague instrument in this regard. It was decided to combine the principles on international contracts of sale and on international commercial contracts, including the first under the last. However, in the meantime the need was discovered for a set of principles on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations, which would include not only commercial but also other civil matters.

A first draft of the African Principles on the Law Applicable to International Commercial Contracts was published in the 2020 Uniform Law Review/Revue de droit uniforme. Commentary by academics and other interested parties is invited until the end of June 2021.



Global comparative study on the Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts, to be published as Daniel Girsberger, Thomas Kadner Graziano and Jan L Neels (gen eds) Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts. Global Perspectives on the Hague Principles (OUP, 2021)

Code on private international law of contract for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Mr Justin Monsenepwo)

Flagship programme LLM (International Commercial Law)

Prof Eesa A Fredericks is a member of the expert committee on jurisdiction in civil and commercial cases for the Hague Conference on Private International Law and member of the Governing Council of UNIDROIT. Prof Jan L Neels was a member of the working group which drafted the Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts under the auspices of the Hague Conference and is an honorary member of the Governing Council of UNIDROIT.



Prof Jan L Neels, Director, UJ

Prof Eesa A Fredericks, Deputy Director, UJ

Prof Michael Martinek, Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Saarland

Prof Marta Pertegás, University of Maastricht/University of Antwerp

Prof Saloni Khanderia, Jindal Global Law School (India)

Prof Ramani Garimella, South Asian University (India)

Prof Stellina Jolly, South Asian University (India)

Dr Garth Bouwers, UJ

Ms Chloe Johannes, UJ

Mr Justin Monsenepwo, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (Germany)

Dr Lupwana Kandala (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Mr Jonas Baumann (Germany)

Dr Prince Obiri-Korang, PDRF (Ghana)

Ms Tertia Jacobs (acting secretary), UJ

Mr Solomon Okorley (academic assistant) (Ghana)



Prof Jan L Neels:

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