Journal of Law, Society and Development - latest Issue
Volume 3, Issue 1, 2016
Author Thoahlane ThoahlaneSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 1 –5 (2016)More Less
It would seem that relative calm and tranquillity have returned to the South African universities following the students' protests and marches that engulfed the campuses in the name of the so-called #RhodesMustFall campaign, which started at the University of Cape Town in 2015. What began as the #RhodesMustFall campaign turned into a #FeesMustFall campaign as student protests gained momentum and moved from campus to campus throughout the country.
Oil in the Gulf of Guinea states and South Africa in the matrix of overlapping membership of African regional communities : an impediment to regional integration?Author Z. Ntozintle JobodwanaSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 6 –30 (2016)More Less
The Gulf of Guinea states (GOGs) discussed in this article comprise a diverse group of more than 20 African states bordering on the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea. They are former colonies of Belgium, France, Great Britain and Germany. These states are of strategic importance to the United States, the European Union, India and China because of their tremendous natural resources that include biodiversity, oil, gas and other strategic minerals. But to what extent are they also of strategic importance not only to South Africa but to SADC member states? After all, the GOGs boast of their sea routes being safer and more convenient for sea transport. Post-colonial independence finds these states still adopting a mixture of foreign legal systems side by side with indigenous laws and customs. The region is still underdeveloped, with poor physical infrastructure, weak government structures, an inefficient legal system, and internecine strife and other inter-state disputes exerting a debilitating influence. The NEPAD Plan of Action of 2001 looks to the regional economic communities (RECs) to become the leaders in regional economic co-operation and integration. Although the GOGs are characterised at present by overlapping membership of various communities, they have enjoyed some successes based on the newly found petroleum commodity which, wisely managed, can help to increase intra-African trade and produce a viable extensive African market buttressed by South Africa's economic advances into the rest of Africa. In some of the regions in Africa RECs such as ECOWAS and SADC have been able to transform their economic and monetary co-operation efforts into a powerful driving force for economic policy co-ordination and integration, but a strong, credible, effective and efficient legal framework with sustainable supporting institutions is now needed. South Africa is well poised to assist with deepening the political and economic integration in the GOGs by intensifying foreign direct investment (FDI), capacity-building and training projects, and the transfer of skills and technology. But the RECs' overlapping membership needs to be rationalised, the negative influences of the superpowers need to be resisted, and support is required to maintain peace and stability and ensure the security of the maritime regimes. A strong, independent supra-national body that is also able to supervise and monitor revenues from oil for the benefit of the region as a whole should be established.
Author Shiyuan HanSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 31 –44 (2016)More Less
It is impossible to draw a distinct line between force majeure and change of circumstances, because the two overlap. In order to regulate both force majeure and change of circumstances, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) has adopted a unified model in article 79, whereas Chinese law adopts a dual model by treating them as different things and regulating them in different articles. Where the purpose of a contract becomes impossible to achieve because of a force majeure and both the CISG and Chinese Contract Law (the CCL) adopt the same model of termination of the contract, the contract should be terminated by one party with a notice to the other party instead of ipso facto avoidance. In a case of a change of circumstances, in order to terminate the contract, both the CISG and the CCL actually follow the path of raising an action by a notice of avoidance or termination to the other party. Both approaches have their merits and demerits but the differences between them in practice are not as large as presumed. Where force majeure and change of circumstances overlap each other, possible ways for termination of the contract are for a party either to choose their preferred solution or to follow the lex specialis derogat generali. The latter way is preferred in this article; and while in an action for termination the judge may balance the interests of both parties in making a final decision, the uniform application of the law, the safety of the transaction and the fairness of the judgment may be ensured in so doing.
Author Kananelo E. MositoSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 45 –66 (2016)More Less
This article is about social security, which, in turn, is a subset of social policy. 'Social policy' is a term that is applied to many areas of policy, usually within a governmental or political setting (such as social services). This article critically evaluates the proposed Consolidated National Social Security Bill for Lesotho. It examines the general background to the proposed national social security scheme; the legislative framework for the proposed scheme; the governance and institutional framework of the scheme as well as the establishment of insurance funds and the financing sources of various funds. The evaluation is undertaken through the lens of social security perspectives and policy considerations.
The UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration : interpretation, general principles and arbitrabilityAuthor Pilar Perales ViscasillasSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 67 –84 (2016)More Less
This article explores the possible modification of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (MAL) to include the topic of arbitrability. This is an area in which the domestic legal systems differ, particularly in relation to the arbitrability of intra-corporate disputes. The article also deals with new art 2A, introduced into the Model Law in 2006, which deals with the interpretation and gap-filling system under the Model Law. The interpretation of MAL in accordance with its international character is a very important step towards uniformity and therefore the different tools required for a uniform interpretation are analysed. These include case law and scholarly writings; the meaning and importance of achieving both a uniform and an international interpretation of MAL are also considered. The article also analyses the whole text of MAL in order to arrive at the general principles on which the Model Law is based; when problems have to be solved, these principles should guide issues of interpretation that arise under this law.
Author Bruno ZellerSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 85 –98 (2016)More Less
This article investigates whether regional harmonisation is merely an academic exercise or a serious attempt to create a uniform contract law in a defined region. It builds on the recently conducted Symposium at Villanova University in 2013 and addresses comparatively the efforts by well-defined regions, namely OHADA, the EU and ASEAN. OHADA has introduced regional uniform laws; the EU is still working on formulating them. Furthermore, UNCITRAL has considered a proposal by the Swiss government to work urgently on a new initiative to further harmonise contract law. Against this backdrop, this article argues that regional proposals to harmonise contract law are akin to saying that 'ein Gespenst geht um' (a ghost is going around) (Reich 2006: 425). This is justified, because a proposal to create a harmonised contract law in East Asia has currently also been discussed, but the discussions have stalled. Is there a solution or do we simply admit that regional harmonisation is not possible? The starting point is the CISG, as has been adopted by 80 countries and needs to be considered by any region as a possible, albeit not perfect, solution. If the CISG has already been ratified, the issue, then, is how any regional developments can coexist with it. Or does a ratification of the CISG preclude any regional harmonisation? Secondly, the question must be asked whether regional harmonisation will reduce transaction costs, which is beyond what the CISG was able to achieve. This article argues that as far as the drafting of international instruments is concerned, a shift in thinking has occurred. Instruments such as the Cape Town Convention are considered to be reforming the law in a particular narrow area rather than attempting to draft codes. Furthermore, the process is driven by industry groups. Regional harmonisation must take note of the ongoing shift and a more fruitful approach is to develop uniform laws through a better understanding and coordination of existing instruments.
Author Aristide Kahindo NguruSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 99 –114 (2016)More Less
Disparities in national laws are likely to result in uncertainty which, in turn, creates obstacles to international commerce. It is acknowledged that strong investment flows cannot be achieved without a secure legal and commercial environment. Mindful of such a need, states decided to harmonise sales law internationally. To this end, in 1980 they adopted the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods known as the Vienna Sales Convention or the CISG. The CISG has led a number of countries, including the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) law states, to modernise their local sales law. However, only three of 17 countries that constitute the OHADA community have ratified the CISG. OHADA law countries give the impression of favouring a more regional approach to the unification of sales law rather than the CISG's global approach by implementing a local Commercial Uniform Act. Their indifference towards the CISG is not without consequences for commerce in the OHADA region. This article seeks to demonstrate that the lack of ratification of a universal convention, as for example the CISG, poses a danger to commercial dealings. It also intends to show that the CISG is not hostile to regional uniform sales laws of the OHADA Commercial Uniform Act type. It concludes that OHADA countries do not need to be afraid of their acceptance of the CISG and recommends that it be ratified.
Author Mbuzeni MathenjwaSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 115 –131 (2016)More Less
The place and role of local government within the structure of government in Africa has attracted much public interest. Prior to and after independence, African countries used local government as the administrative units of central governments without their having any legal status, to the extent that local authorities were under the strict control of central governments. The autonomy of local government is pivotal in the democratisation of a country. The United Nations, European Union and African Union have adopted treaties to promote the recognition and protection of local government in the state parties' constitutions. Accordingly, this article explains the status of local government in Africa and its impact on strengthening democracy in African states.
The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts at ten : practical relevance and lessons learnedAuthor Luca G. CastellaniSource: Journal of Law, Society and Development 3, pp 132 –152 (2016)More Less
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law prepared the first global treaty specifically devoted to electronic commerce law, the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts. That treaty builds on the highly successful UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures. This article describes the main goals of the Electronic Communications Convention and its scope of application. In particular, it illustrates how that Convention may fully enable the use of electronic means under other widely adopted treaties such as the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The article also describes the main substantive provisions of the Electronic Communications Convention, in particular clarifying how that Convention updates and completes the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. This Model Law is the backbone of electronic commerce law in numerous countries and a de facto legislative standard in southern Africa. Finally, the article describes the manner (or patterns) in which the adoption of the Electronic Communications Convention takes place. It stresses that, while the Convention is often used as a source of inspiration for domestic law reform, in order for it to achieve all its intended goals, its formal adoption as a treaty is necessary. The final message is therefore a call upon all states to consider the adoption of that Convention in order to support the broader use of electronic means, especially in the light of the implications for economic development and the promotion of paperless trade.