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Africa dispute resolution

Advising clients on all aspects of investment and risk across the continent for over 40 years

Our premium Africa dispute resolution practice is serviced by lawyers across our global network, and in particular by our disputes teams in Johannesburg, Paris and London.

We have the capability and platform to assist clients on all types of dispute or contentious matter in Africa (including international commercial and investor-state arbitration, commercial litigation, tax investigations and disputes, class actions, public international law, corporate crime & investigations and ADR), as well as to provide specialist risk management expertise.

Our dispute resolution experience in Africa includes advising and representing parties to large, complex and high-value arbitrations across a range of industry sectors, including energy, natural resources, infrastructure and telecommunications. We also spend a significant amount of time behind the scenes advising clients on how to minimise their exposure to contentious risk. We have been consistently ranked in the top band for Africa-wide Dispute Resolution since this category was first introduced by Chambers Global in 2014.

Our experience has shown that a large number of disputes between foreign investors and governments in Africa can be resolved through negotiation. These discussions can be complex, requiring cultural sensitivity and local knowledge to determine which arguments carry weight, when it is time to be firm or flexible, and if and where support can be found within government.

We will put our many years’ experience to work in your negotiations, developing persuasive lines of argument while preserving existing rights, and talking to officials on the ground. Should negotiation prove unsuccessful, we can then help you craft the best dispute resolution strategy, including arbitration, litigation and ADR procedures.

The experience of our French-qualified lawyers includes appearing before the local courts in a number of Francophone jurisdictions.

The combination of our full-service multi-industry expertise, deep Africa experience and know-how ensures we can provide a real value added service to our clients in Africa whatever the challenge or opportunity.

Recent Experience

STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

on a series of ICSID arbitrations against Tanzania arising out of a number of investment treaty breaches in respect of a power station.

SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE AND GOLDMAN SACHS

in two separate and high profile claims in excess of US$1 billion brought by the Libyan Investment Authority regarding derivative trades entered into by our two clients with the LIA at around the time of the global financial crisis.

BHARTI AIRTEL

in defence of a claim in excess of US$4 billion relating to its business in Nigeria. The dispute includes an international arbitration and court proceedings in several jurisdictions including Nigeria.

GRUPO ORTIZ

in an investment treaty claim against Algeria as a result of violation of certain articles of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Spain and Algeria.

VEDANTA RESOURCES LIMITED

Acted for Vedanta Resources Limited in the defence of a high profile group action brought in the High Court in London on behalf of 3700 members of a Zambian community.

RUASHI MINING (DRC) AND RUASHI HOLDINGS (SOUTH AFRICA)

as Respondents in ICC proceedings commenced by the DRC's state-owned mining company La Générale des Carrières et des Mines (Gécamines) in relation with the exploitation of copper mines in the DRC by Ruashi Mining, a joint venture created by Gécamines and Ruashi Holdings.

Awards and Accolades

Band 1 - Africa-wide Dispute Resolution Chambers Global 2014-2021

One source highlighted the team for being "extremely professional and proactive. I feel that they have this capacity to understand client needs and they can adjust."
The practice maintains a high degree of professionalism, has legal acumen in diverse fields and its services are efficient," said one market commentator. Another source praised the firm's "deep knowledge of the natural resource sector and of African jurisdictions.
Chambers Global 2021: Africa-wide Dispute Resolution
One client described the team as "great litigators," adding: "They have a good marriage of international and local knowledge combined with business acumen to execute our needs." Another client agreed, stating: "They are responsive, pragmatic and reasonable," and going on to comment: "They understand the needs of the client."
Chambers Global 2021: South Africa Dispute Resolution
One source described the firm as "excellent, exceptionally innovative, forward-thinking, extremely analytical and proactive," adding that "they have been super all round." Further interviewees value its ability to "deliver a very personal service" that is equal parts "professional, commercial and extremely supportive of its clients."
Chambers Global 2020: Africa-wide Dispute Resolution

Insights and updates

22nd February 2021
South Africa's High Court has refused to certify a high-profile securities claim. Will this curb...
16th February 2021
The UK Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell...
28th February 2020
Professor David Butler is Emeritus Professor of law at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and was...
16th March 2020
The International Arbitration Act 15 of 2017 has delivered the required framework for South Africa...

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