Special Prosecutor, law lecturer author book on conflict of laws

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
Prof. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba, Dean of the University of Ghana School of Law, launching the book. Picture: Caleb Vanderpuye
Prof. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba, Dean of the University of Ghana School of Law, launching the book. Picture: Caleb Vanderpuye

Two legal luminaries have published a book that examines conflict of laws from the perspective of the Ghanaian legal system.

Titled, “Conflict of Laws in Ghana”, it is said to be the first of its kind on the subject of conflict of laws in the country.

It is co-authored by the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng, and a law lecturer, Prof. Richard Frimpong Oppong.

The book, which has been designed for judges, legal practitioners, students, researchers and policy makers, is grounded on authentic Ghanaian case laws and legislations.

As a course (optional) for students at the various faculties, conflict of laws is a set rules or laws a jurisdiction applies to a case, transaction, or other occurrences that have connections to more than one jurisdiction.

Mr. Kissi Agyebeng said conflict of laws had become more important considering the country’s pluralistic legal system.

The book, he said, thoroughly examined the subject of conflict of laws from the perspective of Ghanaians through its development from the colonial era to date.

Present at the launch were Justices Nene Abayateye Ofoe Amegatcher and Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, both of the Supreme Court.

Also present was Justice Dennis Adjei, a Court of Appeal judge, among other notable personalities in the legal fraternity.

Book

The book covers the traditional legs of conflict of laws, namely the rules on jurisdiction when a claim involves a foreign element, choice of law, the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards.

It also covers international civil procedure, including the international aspects of serving legal documents and taking evidence, which are said to be usually not covered in standard texts in the discipline but are nevertheless, critical to the application of the substantive principles.

It also chronicles the need to reform various aspects of Ghana’s conflict of laws regime with several recommendations to address the issues such as proposals to reform the common law rule that a child acquires the domicile of the father at birth, if legitimate, and the domicile of the mother at birth, if illegitimate.

It also recommends for the President to designate more countries whose judgments can be registered in Ghana and for Ghana to become party to various conflict of laws related to international conventions developed under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law

Practice

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, said the book would help lawyers and policy makers to practice effectively in the global business environment.

A lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr Victor Brobbey, described the book as “excellent”, saying it comprehensively discussed recently passed legislations and how they affected areas of conflict of law.

Hague Convention

The Dean of the  University of Ghana School of Law, Prof. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba, urged the Attorney-General to initiate processes that would get Ghana to be part of the Hague Convention.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law is the world organisation for cross-border cooperation in civil and commercial matters that currently has 88 member states, including all of the country’s major trading partners.

Ghana is, however, not a member of the organisation.