Members of chambers have experience of dealing with commercial disputes in Africa, in a wide variety of business sectors including aviation, energy and natural resources, mining and financial services. We have been instructed in a variety of cases including contractual disputes, claims involving allegations of fraud, commercial crime matters and arbitration.
In the construction, energy and infrastructure sector, our experience includes acting in The Federal Republic of Nigeria v Royal Dutch Shell & Others, a matter arising out of the allocation to a Shell / Eni consortium of an oil prospecting license, in respect of an offshore petroleum block in Nigerian territorial waters.
We were also instructed on behalf of an Angolan-based mobile telecoms company in a claim worth more than €300 million, relating to a series of loan agreements granted to a company whose controlling shareholder is the daughter of the former President of Angola.
Members have also acted in disputes involving African parties in the aviation sector, including for aircraft lessors in Commercial Court proceedings against a Nigerian lessor to recover sums due under two leases of Boeing 737s.
Our experience extends to South Africa, where we were instructed in a claim for an injunction in the High Court brought by a former client against KPMG Services and the Competition Commission of South Africa, arising out of the latter’s appointment of the accountants as adviser to a Market Enquiry in the healthcare sector. Members have also appeared as expert witness in English law in various South African matters.
One of our core practice areas is banking and finance and we have acted on many of these disputes in the African region. For example, members advised in relation to a contractual dispute between banks and a Nigerian oil company concerning the financing of an oil field acquisition, raising issues of contractual frustration arising out of Government intervention, misrepresentation and negligence. We also acted in Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria, a claim which was ultimately heard in the Supreme Court and which involved allegations of fraud dating back more than 25 years.
More recently, members have acted in Federal Republic of Nigeria v JP Morgan Chase, a multi-million-pound breach of contract claim in relation to the operation of a depository account for the Nigerian government.
Our members have acted in international arbitrations involving African jurisdictions for many years. Examples includes an UNCITRAL arbitration against an African government concerning a very substantial claim for breach of contract, and an arbitration concerning one of the largest oil and gas discoveries offshore West Africa in the last decade.
Many of the cases in which we act which involve African parties, or where the cause of action takes place in Africa, are cross-border and regularly involve action being pursued in other overseas jurisdictions. Our members have extensive experience in this respect including for example in a claim for breach of contract of a shareholders’ agreement, relating to the exploration and development of a nickel mine in Burundi; the dispute involved an arbitration in South Africa and an application for a freezing injunction in the British Virgin Islands. We also acted in a case in the Dubai International Financial Centre Court concerning an alleged trade fraud involving the sale and shipment of oil pipes from Greece to Angola.
Outside of case work, we regularly support Slaughter & May’s EXPLORE programme, which welcomes over 20 lawyers from more than 10 African jurisdictions to their offices in London. The secondees visit Fountain Court as part of the programme, where we educate them about the Bar and our work and often facilitate tours of some of the London courts.
For more information about our African experience or to discuss a specific enquiry, please contact our clerking team.