Richard Frimpong Oppong, FGA
LLB, BL (Ghana), LLM (Cambridge), LLM (Harvard), PhD (UBC)
Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He was educated at the University of Ghana, Ghana School of Law, University of Cambridge, Harvard Law School, University of British Columbia, and Dalhousie University where he was a Killam Post-doctoral Research Fellow. Prior to joining TRU he was a lecturer in law at Lancaster University Law School in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he held the post of Director of Studies (Private International Law) at The Hague Academy of International Law. He was a member of the Working Group of the Hague Conference on Private International Law that developed the Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts 2015. He is also an elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law.
His principal research interests are in private international law, regional economic integration and international dispute settlement with a special focus on Africa. He has published widely (including three books and over 35 articles, book chapters and book reviews) on these subjects. The British Academy, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Trusts and Foundation for Legal Research have funded some of his research, two of which have won international awards, namely the 2013 American Society of International Law prize in Private International Law and the 2014 James Crawford Prize of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. Some of his papers have been translated into French and Chinese. He is also frequently cited in academic publications. His work has been cited in the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and the South African Supreme Court of Appeal. He has drafted legal opinions for leading law firms.
Dr. Oppong is a member of the Advisory Board of the highly regarded Yearbook of Private International Law, and an Assistant Editor to the Global Journal of Comparative Law. He is also the Editor (Africa Section) of Commentaries on Private International Law (an ASIL PIL-IG Newsletter). He serves on the editorial board of the State Practice and International Law Journal, and the Journal of International Trade Law and Policy. He has peer-reviewed manuscripts for leading publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Hart Publishing Limited, Ashgate Publishing Company, and Routledge-Cavendish. He has peer reviewed articles for various Canadian and international journals including UBC Law Review, Canadian Bar Review, Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, Saskatchewan Law Review, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Journal of Private International Law, Journal of African Law, African Journal of International and Comparative Law, Commonwealth Law Bulletin and Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. He is an expert reviewer for the South African National Research Foundation, the country’s equivalent of the Research Councils of Canada, and has served as external examiner or programme reviewer for universities in Ghana, South Africa, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Oppong teaches Contracts in the first year curriculum, and Sale of Goods and Conflict of Laws in the upper year curriculum.
- A Commitment to Law, Development and Public Policy: A Festschrift in Honour of Nana Dr. SKB Asante (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing, 2016) [Co-editor: Mr. Kissi Agyebeng] [724 pages]
- Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).[558 pages]
- Reviewed in (2014) 40 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 411-415 by Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law Gordon R. Woodman who described it as ‘a remarkable tour de force, which will be of use to all practitioners who need to engage with private international law in these countries, and will surely inspire debate on the development and reform of this law in Africa and elsewhere in the world’.
- Reviewed in (2014) Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 297-298 by Professor Adrian Briggs, Professor of Private International Law, who described it as ‘clear, accessible, informed and informative survey… The practical value of the book operates at several levels’.
- Reviewed in (2014) 43 Common Law World Review 85-87 by Ardavan Arzandeh who described it as an ‘ambitious and methodologically executed project’; a ‘clear and authoritative exposition of the existing principles of law in the countries which it covers’; ‘[with] the potential to kick-start a debate on a wide range of issues within and outside Africa’.
- Reviewed in (2014) 10 Journal of Private International Law 517-533 by Chukwuma S.A. Okoli who described it as ‘instructive, illuminating, lucid, thoroughly researched, and indeed rewarding to scholars, legal practitioners, judges, students and stakeholders in the African Union (AU) economic integration project’.
- Private International Law in Ghana (Alphen aan den Riji: Kluwer Law International, 2012).[204 pages]
- Legal Aspects of Economic Integration in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).[402 pages]
- ‘International Business Transactions, Arbitration and the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana’ in Richard Frimpong Oppong & Kissi Agyebeng, eds, A Commitment to Law, Development and Public Policy: A Festschrift in Honour of Nana Dr. Samuel Kwadwo Boaten Asante (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing, 2016) at 235-255
- "Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Maintenance Orders in Commonwealth African Countries" in Paul Beaumont, Burkhard Hess, Lara Walker and Stefanie Spancken (Eds.) The Recovery of Maintenance in the EU and Worldwide (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2014) 45-63.
- “Ghana” in Bea Verschraegen (Eds.) International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Private International Law (Alphen aan den Rijn, NL: Kluwer Law International. First published in 2010 and updated every two years – late updated 2014)
- “Ghana” in Diego P. Fernandez Arroyo (Eds.) Consumer Protection in International Private Relationships (Asuncion: Center for the Studies of Law, Economy and Politics, 2010), 233-244.
- “Integration Through Law: An Examination of the Jurisprudence of Regional Economic Integration Judicial Bodies in Africa,” in Trudi Hartzenberg (Ed.) WTO Dispute Settlement: An African Perspective (London: Cameron May, 2008), 319-340.
- “Managing Legal Pluralism: An Examination of the Colonial and Post Colonial Treatment of Customary Law under Ghana’s Legal System,” in H.J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu et al. (Eds.) Ghana Law since Independence: History, Development and Prospects (Accra: Blackmask, 2007), 443-465.
- “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Commonwealth African Countries" (2014) XVYearbook of Private International Law 365-386.
- “Globalization and Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa" (2014) 36 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review 153-160.
- “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts” (2014) 5 Journal of International Dispute Settlement 344-371 (Co-author: Lisa C. Niro).
- “Legitimacy of Regional Economic Integration Courts in Africa” (2014) 7 African Journal of Legal Studies 61-85.
- “Enforcing Judgments of the SADC Tribunal in the domestic courts of member states” (2010) 10 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 115-142
This paper was cited in the South African Supreme Court of Appeal in the case of Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe v. Fick  ZASCA 122.
- “Private International Law Scholarship in Africa (1884-2009) – A Selected Bibliography” (2010) 58 American Journal of Comparative Law 319-342.
- “The African Union, African Economic Community and Regional Economic Communities: Untangling a Complex Web” (2010) 18 African Journal of International and Comparative Law 92-103.
- “Re-defining the Relations between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities” (2009) 9 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 5-25.
- “A Decade of Private International Law in African Courts 1997-2007 (Part II)” (2008) X Yearbook of Private International Law 367-408.
- “Roman-Dutch Law meets the Common Law on Jurisdiction in International Matters” (2008) 4 Journal of Private International Law 311-327.
- “Making Regional Economic Community Laws into Enforceable National Laws - Constitutional and Judicial Challenges” (2008) 8 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 149-178.
- “Re-imagining International Law: An Examination of Recent Trends in the Reception of International Law into National Legal System in Africa” (2007) 30 Fordham International Law Journal 296-345.
This paper was cited by the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Alexis Holyweek Sarei v. Rio Tinto Plc. (9 Cir. – 16 December 2008).
- "A Decade of Private International Law in African Courts 1997-2007 (Part I)" (2007) IX Yearbook of Private Internal Law 223-255.
- “Integration Through Law: An Examination of the Jurisprudence of Regional Economic Integration Judicial Bodies in Africa” (2007) 7 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 203-227.
- “Private International Law in Africa: The Past, Present and Future” (2007) 55 American Journal of Comparative Law 677-719.
- “Mere Presence and International Competence in Private International Law” (2007) 3 Journal of Private International Law 321-332.
- “Canadian Courts Enforce Foreign Non-Money Judgments” (2007) 70 Modern Law Review 670-679.
- “Choice of Law and Forum Agreement Survives a Constitutional Challenge in the Kenya Court of Appeal” (2007) 33:1 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 158-163.
- “Private International Law and the African Economic Community: A Plea for Greater Attention” (2006) 55 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 911-928.
- “The Hague Conference and the Development of Private International Law in Africa: A Plea for Cooperation” (2006) VIII Yearbook of Private International Law 189-210.
- “Observing the Legal System of the Community: The Relationship between Community and National Legal System under the African Economic Community Treaty” (2006) 15 Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law 41-87.
- “Enforcing Foreign Non-Money Judgments: Some Recent Developments in Canada and Beyond” (2006) 39 University of British Columbia Law Review 257-286.
- “Private International Law and the African Economic Community: A Plea for Greater Attention” (2006) Journal of South African Law 497-509.
- “Trade and Human Rights: A Perspective for Agents of Trade Policy using the Rights Based Approach to Development” (2006) 6 African Human Rights Law Journal 123-145.
- “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ghana: A Second Look at a Colonial Inheritance” (2005) 31:4 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 19-36.
- Review of Reflections on the Supreme Court of Ghana by Samuel Kofi Date-Bah in (2016) 5 Global Journal of Comparative Law 279-286.
- Review of National Law in WTO Law, Effectiveness and Good Governance in the World Trading System by Sharif Bhuiyan (2008) 11 Journal of International Economic Law 501-506.
- Review of The Institutional Transformation of the Economic Community of West African States by Kofi Oteng Kufuor (2008) 16 African Journal of International and Comparative Law 115-118.
- Review of Documents in International Economic Law by Francis Botchway (2007) 10 Journal of International Economic Law 405-408.
- Review of On Jurisdiction and the Recognition of Foreign Money Judgments by Christian Schulze (2007) 15 African Journal of International and Comparative Law 162-163.
Project Title: Regional and National Courts and Africa’s Economic Integration: A Study of the East African Community
Funding Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Project Summary: National courts are instruments for the rule of law. They provide access to justice to aggrieved persons, and serve as a check on the limits of governmental powers. Regional courts play an equally important role in regional economic integration. They are instruments for ensuring rule of law in the economic context and for facilitating the free movement of goods, persons and capital through jurisprudence that eliminates states’ restrictions on such freedoms. They define, monitor and enforce treaty compliance and promote the confidence of traders, businesses and investors. The best example is the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The CJEU has played a major role in economic integration within the European Union, and has been a model for similar regional courts in Africa.
Regional economic integration has been promoted as essential for Africa’s economic development. There are 14 regional economic communities in Africa. Most of them have a regional court as part of the community’s institutions. The East African Community (EAC) and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the focus of this project, are examples. The EACJ is the most active in the African regional courts. However, unlike the CJEU, which it was modeled after, the EACJ has struggled to advance economic integration within the EAC; and this remains a continuing paradox. Indeed, rather than focus on ensuring rule of law in the economic context, the court has unilaterally widened its jurisdiction to cover issues that are very politically sensitive in member states such as human rights, governance and national security (non-trade issues). This has been viewed as potentially destabilizing to the economic goals set out by the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. Moreover, there is also a lack of legal interaction between the EACJ and national courts of member states. The context, causes, and implications of these for economic integration within the EAC have not been fully explored and demand a critical analysis.
Accordingly, this research project has two principal objectives. The first objective is to examine the transformation of the EACJ from a court set up to adjudicate regional economic rules into a court that has adjudicated mainly non-trade issues, and the lack of legal interaction between the EACJ and national courts. The second objective is to examine the role courts play in economic integration and how the socio-cultural and political context within which the EACJ/national courts operate conditions or constraints their role within the EAC. Theoretically and methodologically, the research team (applicant, co-applicant, and two collaborators resident in the EAC) will draw on the analytical tools of socio-legal scholarship. The socio-legal approach to studying the EACJ is truly original: the existing scholarship relies mainly on the so-called ‘black letter’ approach to dissecting courts and their decisions. The project will involve a research visit to the EACJ and EAC member states to interview and collect data, followed by an analysis of the data collected, and a textual/contextual analysis of the decisions of the EACJ and national courts of the member states.
The project will advance knowledge and provide significant social benefits. It will shape the context of our understanding of the role of African regional courts, in particular the EACJ, as a pertinent institution for economic integration. The project’s focus on the rule of law in cross-border economic activities within the context of regional economic integration is socially important: an EACJ focused on ensuring rule of law in regional economic transactions will be important to the development of the EAC. The socio-legal approach promises new and context based insights, which would enhance the work of judges and policy makers in setting measures for effective economic integration within the EAC.
- 'Private international Law and Harmonisation of Law in African Regional Economic Communities’ University of Dar es Salaam and University of Bayreuth Workshop on Eastern African Common Legal Space in Economic Law: State of the Art and Future Perspectives, with Consideration of the European Experience, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 10-11 August 2015.
- 'Legal Harmonization in African Regional Economic Communities: Progress, Inertia or Regress’ University of Dar es Salaam and University of Bayreuth Workshop on Eastern African Common Legal Space in Economic Law: State of the Art and Future Perspectives, with Consideration of the European Experience, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 10-11 August 2015.
- 'Globalization and Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa’, 2013 Annual Meeting of American Society of Comparative Law, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA 10-12 October 2013.
- ‘Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments of International Courts in National Courts: Emerging Jurisprudence and Challenges Ahead’, Journal of Private International Law Conference, Madrid, Spain 12-13 September 2013 (with Miss Lisa Niro).
- ‘Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Maintenance Awards in Commonwealth African Countries’, Recovery of Maintenance in the EU and Worldwide International Conference. Heidelberg, Germany 5-8 March 2013.
- “Harmonization of Private International Law: Harnessing our Colonial Heritage” Third Quadrennial International Conference on Comparative Private International Law, Institute for Private International Law in Africa, University of Johannesburg, South Africa 8-11 September 2009.
Special Lectures at The Hague Academy of International Law
- Enforcement of Judgments of International Courts in National Courts, 31 July 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
- Party autonomy in Comparative Private International Law, 2 August 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
- History, Development and Future of African Private International Law, 6 August 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
- External Values (culture, human rights, constitutionalism etc.) and African Private International Law, 8 August 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
- Civil Relationships and Surrogate Motherhood in African Private International Law, 13 August 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
- Recent Developments in Canadian Conflict of Laws, 15 August 2012, the Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
Other Conference Presentations
- ‘Legitimacy and Regional Courts in Africa: The Case of the East African Court of Justice’ Legitimacy and International Courts Roundtable, Centre for International and Comparative Law, Duke University Law School, Durham, North Carolina, USA, 23 March 2013.
- ‘Access to International Justice and the Changing Rules on Standing in International Adjudication’ Thompson Rivers University, Student Law Society Conference, Kamloops, Canada, 7-8 February 2013.
- “From Judgment to Justice: Enforcing International Judgments in National Court” Faculty Seminar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto Canada 18 January 2011.
- “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts” Faculty Seminar Series, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 7 January 2011.
- “Institutional Transformation of the African Union and the Quest for Africa’s Economic Development” Lancaster University African Studies Group Research Seminar Series, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 30 November 2010.
- “A Relational Theory of Regional Economic Integration-Implications for Africa” Inaugural Conference, Society of International Economic Law, Geneva, Switzerland 15-17 July 2008.
- “A Developing African Private International Law Regime: Lessons from a Decade of Case-Law in Thirteen Countries” Institute of Private International Law for Africa, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa 17 April 2008.
- 'Immigrants’ Law’, Multiculturalism and the Conflict of Laws in Canada” 12th Annual UBC Faculty of Law Interdisciplinary Legal Studies Graduate Students’ Law Conference, Vancouver, Canada 3-4 May 2007.
- “Out of the Cold: Africa and Private International Law”, Journal of Private International Law Conference 2007, Birmingham, United Kingdom 26-27 June 2007.
- “Independence, Impartiality and Administrative Decision Making: Lessons from some Recent Decisions” Lecture delivered to the Administrative Law class at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana 2004.
- “Commissions of Inquiry under Ghana Law” Lecture delivered to the Administrative Law class at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana 2002.
- Conflict of Laws
- Sale of Goods