UNIFORM ACT ON ARBITRATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I: SCOPE OF APPLICATION
CHAPTER II: CONSTITUTION OF THE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL
CHAPTER III THE ARBITRAL HEARING
CHAPTER IV THE ARBITRAL AWARD
CHAPTER V RECOURSE AGAINST THE ARBITRAL AWARD
CHAPTER VI: RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS
CHAPTER VII: FINAL PROVISIONS
The Council of Ministers of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa
Mindful of the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, in particular Articles 2 and 5 to 12 thereof;
Mindful of the report of the Permanent Secretary and the observations of the Contracting States;
Mindful of the opinion of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration dated 3 December 1998;
The Contracting States present have deliberated upon and unanimously adopted the Uniform
Act set out below:
SCOPE OF APPLICATION
This Uniform Act shall apply to any arbitration when the seat of the Arbitral Tribunal is in one of the Member States.
Any natural person or corporate body may recourse to arbitration on rights of which he bas free disposal.
States and other territorial public bodies as well as public establishments may equally be parties to an arbitration without having the possibility to invoke their own law to contest the arbitrability of the claim, their authority to sign arbitration agreements or the validity of the arbitration agreement.
The arbitration agreement shall be in writing, or by any other means permitting it to be evidenced, notably, by reference made to a document stipulating it.
The arbitration agreement is independent of the main contract.
Its validity shall not be affected by the nullity of this contract and it is assessed according to the intention of both parties, without necessary reference to a state law. The parties can always mutually agree to resort to an arbitration agreement, even when a hearing has already been initiated before another court.
CONSTITUTION OF TUE ARBITRAL
Arbitrators shall be appointed, dismissed or replaced in accordance with the agreement of the parties.
Where there is no such arbitration agreement, or where the agreement is not sufficient:
a) in an arbitration with three arbitrators, each party shall appoint one arbitrator and the two arbitrators thus appointed shah appoint the third arbitrator; if a party fails to appoint the arbitrator within thirty days of receipt of a request to do 50 from the other party, or if the two arbitrators fail to agree on the third arbitrator within thirty days of their appointment, the appointment shall be made upon request of a party, by the competent judge in the Member State:
b) in an arbitration with a sole arbitrator. if the parties are unable to agree on the arbitrator, he shall be appointed, upon request of a party. by the competent judge in the Member State.
The function of an arbitrator may only be performed by a natural person.
The arbitrator must enjoy fully his civic rights, must remain independent and impartial vis-à –vis the parties.
The arbitrator who accepts to perform his function shall communicate his acceptance to the parties by any means in writing.
If the arbitrator knows of any circumstance about himself for which he may be challenged, be shall disclose them to the parties and may only accept his function with the unanimous agreement, in writing, other parties.
In case of dispute, and if the parties have not determined the procedure for challenging an arbitrator, the competent judge in the member State shall decide on the challenge. His decision shall not be subject to any appeal.
Any reasons for challenging an arbitrator must be disclosed without delay by the party who intends to challenge the arbitrator.
The challenge of an arbitrator shall only be admissible for reasons which became known after his appointment has been made.
The arbitral Tribunal shall be composed of a sole arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators.
Where the parties designate the arbitrators in even numbers, the arbitral Tribunal shall be completed by one arbitrator, chosen either in accordance with the agreement of the parties, or, in the absence of such agreement, by the arbitrators appointed or, where they are unable to agree on the arbitrator, by the competent court in the Member State.
The same is true in case of challenge, incapacity, death, resignation or revocation of an arbitrator.
THE ARBITRAL HEARING
The parties shah be treated with equality and each party shall be given a full opportunity to present is case.
Except where the parties expressly exclude the application of certain provisions of the arbitration rules of an institution, submission to this arbitration institution shall bind them to apply the arbitration rules of such institution.
The arbitral hearing is linked as soon as one of the parties seizes one or all the arbitrators in accordance with the arbitration agreement, or, failing such appointment, as soon as one of the parties initiates the procedure for the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal.
The Arbitral Tribunal shall rule on its own jurisdiction including any questions with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement.
A plea for lack of the Arbitral Tribunals jurisdiction shall be raised not later than the time of submission of the statement of defence on the substance except where the facts on which they are based were discovered later.
The Arbitral Tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction in the award on the substance or in a partial award subject to recourse for nullity.
If the arbitration agreement does not determine a time limit, the assignment of the arbitrators may not exceed six months as from the date when the last of them accepted the assignment.
The legal or agreed time limit may be extended either by agreement of the parties, or at the request of one of them or of the arbitrage Tribunal, by the competent judge in the Member State.
When a dispute of which an arbitrage Tribunal bas been seized by virtue of an arbitration agreement is brought before a state court, the said Court shall, if one of the parties makes a request to this effect, declare having jurisdiction.
If the arbitral Tribunal has not yet been seized of the mater, the state court shah equally declare itself incompetent unless the arbitration agreement is manifestly void.
In any case, the state court cannot automatically declare its incompetence.
However the existence of an arbitration agreement shall not be an obstacle to the fact that on the application of one party, a court, in case of emergency and with reasons given, or when a measure shall have to be enforced in a non-member State of OHBLA, order interim measures as long as the measures do not require an examination of the claim on the substance, for which only the arbitral Tribunal is competent.
The parties may directly or by reference to arbitration rules, determine the arbitration procedure; they may also subject this procedure to a procedural law of their choice.
Where there is no such agreement, the arbitral Tribunal may conduct the arbitration as it considers appropriate.
To support their claims, the parties shall have to allege and adduce evidence to establish their claims.
The arbitrators may invite the parties to furnish them with factual explanations, and to present to them by any means legally admissible, evidence which they believe will provide a solution to the claim.
Any explanations or documents invoked or produced by the parties and retained as evidence must have been the subject of an adversary procedure.
They cannot base their ruling on evidence they established on their own without having invited the parties to present their remarks.
If the aid of judicial authorities is necessary for the production of evidence, the arbitral Tribunal may automatically or on application, request the assistance of the competent judge in the member State.
A party who, knowingly, abstains from stating without undue delay an irregularity and pursues the arbitration, is deemed to have waived his right to object to it.
Unless agreed otherwise, the arbitrator shall equally be empowered to rule on all points of law concerning the verification of writing and fraud.
The arbitrators shall decide the dispute in accordance with the rules of law chosen by the parties or, in the absence of such a choice, according to those chosen by them as the most appropriate taking into account, where necessary, the international trade usages.
They may also decide as amiable compositeur when the parties have authorized them to do so.
The arbitration proceedings ends by the expiration of the time limit for arbitration, except where there is an extension of time agreed by the parties or ordered.
It may equally be terminated in case of acknowledgement of claim, withdrawal of claim, agreement by the parties to terminate proceedings or final award.
The arbitral Tribunal shall determine the date on which the dispute shall be deliberated upon.
After this date, no other claim may be raised.
No remarks may be presented, neither can any piece of evidence be produced except on the express request, in writing, of the arbitral Tribunal.
The deliberations of the arbitral Tribunal shall be secret.
TUE ARBITRAL AWARD
The arbitration award is made following the procedure and form agreed upon by the parties.
Where there is no such agreement, the award shall be made by majority vote when the Tribunal is composed of three arbitrators.
The arbitration award shall contain:
- the full name of the arbitrator or arbitrators
- the date of the award:
- the seat of the arbitral Tribunal:
- the full names and company name of the parties, as well as their residence or registered office;
- where necessary, the full names of advocates or any person having represented or assisted the parties.
- the statement of the respective claims of the parties, their arguments as well as the stages of the procedure.
Reasons upon which the award is based shall be given.
The award shall be signed by the arbitrator or arbitrators.
However, where a minority of them refuses to sign the award, mention shall be made of such refusal] and the award shall have the same effect as if it bad been signed by all the arbitrators.
The award shall discharge the arbitrator of the dispute.
The arbitrator shall nevertheless have the power to interprete the award or to redress clerical errors and omissions affecting the award.
Where be bas omitted to rule on part of the claim, be may do it by an additional award.
In one case or the other mentioned above, the request must be made within 30 days from the date of notification of the award. The Tribunal shall have a period of 45 days to give a ruling.
If the arbitral Tribunal can no longer be reconvened, the competent judge in the in the member State shall give such ruling.
As soon as the award is made, the dispute so settled is res judicata.
The arbitrators may grant provisional enforcement of the award where the provisional enforcement has been requested, or may reject the request, with reasons given.
RECOURSE AGAINST THE ARBITRAL
The award is not subject to any opposition, appeal or judgment setting it aside.
It may be subject to a petition for nullity, which must be lodged with the competent judge in the member State.
The decision of the competent judge in the member State can only be set aside by the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration.
The award may be subject to opposition before the arbitral Tribunal by any third party, be he a natural person or corporate body, who had not been called and when the award is damaging to his rights.
Lt may also be the object of an application for revision before the arbitral Tribunal by reason of the discovery of a fact capable of having a decisive influence and which, before the making of the award, was unknown to both the arbitral Tribunal and the party applying for revision.
Recourse for nullity is only admissible in the following cases:
- if the arbitral Tribunal has ruled without an arbitration agreement or on an agreement which is void or bas expired
- if the arbitral Tribunal was irregularly composed or the sole arbitrator was irregularly appointed;
- if the arbitral Tribunal has settled without conforming to the assignment it has been conferred;
- if the principle of adversary procedure has not been observed;
- if the arbitral Tribunal bas violated an international public policy rule of the States, signatories of the Treaty.
- if no reasons are given for the award.
The petition for nullity is admissible as soon as the award is made; it ceases to be admissible if it has not been made within one month of notification of the award furnished with an exequatur.
Except where the provisional enforcement of the award bas been ordered by the arbitral
Tribunal, the exercise of the recourse for nullity shall stay execution of the award until such time that the competent judge in the Member State makes a ruling.
The judge shall also have jurisdiction to rule on a dispute concerning provisional enforcement.
In case of annulment of the award, the earliest party, if he 50 wishes, shall initiate another arbitration proceedings in accordance with this uniform Act.
RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS ARTICLE 30
The award can only be subject to compulsory enforcement by virtue of an exequatur awarded by the competent judge in the member State.
Recognition and exequatur of the award presupposes the fact that the party wishing to rely on it shall establish the existence of the award.
The existence of the award is established by the production of the original award accompanied by the arbitration agreement or copies of these documents satisfying the conditions required for their authenticity.
Where the documents are not written in French, the party shall have to produce a translation certified by a translator registered on the list of experts established by competent courts.
The recognition and exequatur shall be refused where the award is manifestly contrary to international public policy of the member States.
The ruling refusing the exequatur of the award can only be set aside by the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration.
The ruling granting the exequatur is not subject to any recourse.
However a petition for nullity of the award shall as matter of law, and within the limits of the seisine of the competent judge of the member state mean recourse against the ruling allowing exequatur by the court.
The rejection of the petition for nullity shall, as a matter of law, mean validation of the award as well as the ruling granting the exequatur.
Awards made on the basis of rules different from those provided by this Uniform Act shall be recognized as binding within the member States under the conditions provided by international agreements possibly applicable and. failing which, under the same conditions as those provided in this Uniform Act.
This Uniform Act shall be the law governing any arbitration in the member States.
This Act is only applicable to arbitration proceedings, arising after its entry into force.
This Uniform Act shall be published in the Official Gazette of OHBLA and of the Contracting
It shall enter into force in accordance with the provisions of article 9 of the Treaty relative to the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa.
Done at Ouagadougou, on 11 march 1999