Richard Frimpong Oppong, FGA

Associate Professor

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 in British Columbia, Canada. He was elected an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in 2013; elected a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2016; and selected as a Member of the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) 2017 cohort of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in June 2017.

Professor Oppong holds a first-class Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ghana, a first-class Master of Laws degree in Commercial Law from the University of Cambridge, and another Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School. He completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia, and Post-doctoral studies at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. He was called to the Ghana Bar in October 2003 after completing the professional law course with distinction, having received the John Mensah Sarbah Certificate of Honour and the Charles Mensah-Cann Memorial Prize awarded to the best graduating student.

Professor Oppong’s principal research interests are in private international law (conflict of laws), regional economic integration and international dispute settlement, with a special focus on Africa. He has published widely on these subjects. He has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the law with his scholarship. He has published four books, two co-edited books, and over 45 articles, book chapters and book reviews. His writings have been variously described by independent reviewers as “tackl[ing] a major problem of long-term interest”; “offer[ing] innovative insights”; “a remarkable tour de force”; “ambitious and methodologically executed”; “clear and authoritative”; “instructive, illuminating, lucid, thoroughly researched”; “clear, accessible, informed and informative”; and as of “practical value” and of “exceptional quality”. It therefore comes as no surprise that the British Academy, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Trusts and Foundation for Legal Research in Canada have funded some of his research. Two of publications 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. In 2011, he was nominated for the prestigious Hessel Yntema Prize of the American Journal of Comparative Law. Some of his scholarship have been translated into French and Chinese, and others cited in judicial decisions. He is frequently cited in academic publications and has been cited in judicial decisions. 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.

Professor 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 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 articles, books and funding applications for more than twenty different journals, publishers and funding agencies.

 Publications
Books/Monographs
  1. Legal Aspects of Economic Integration in Africa (Chinese Translation) (Cambridge University Press, and Social Sciences Academic Press-China, 2018) [Translator: Dr Weidong Zhu).
  2. Harmonisation of Laws in the East African Community: The State of Affairs with Comparative Insights from the European Union and Other Regional Economic Communities (Nairobi: LawAfrica, 2018) [Co-editors: Johannes Döveling, Hamudi I Majamba, Ulrike Wanitzek].
  3. The Government of Ghana and International Arbitration (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing, 2017).
  4. 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: Kissi Agyebeng].
  5. Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  6. Private International Law in Ghana (Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2012).
  7. Legal Aspects of Economic Integration in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Book Chapters
  1. “Foreign Relations Law in the Constitutions and Courts of Commonwealth African Countries” in Curtis Bradley (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) 583-600 [Co-author: Ernest Yaw Ako]
  2. “Legal Harmonisation in African Regional Economic Communities: Progress, Inertia or Regress” in Johannes Döveling, Hamudi I. Majamba, Richard Frimpong Oppong, Ulrike Wanitzek eds, Harmonisation of Laws in the East African Community: The State of Affairs with Comparative Insights from the European Union and Other Regional Economic Communities (Nairobi: LawAfrica, 2018) at 113-137.
  3. “Private International Law and Harmonisation of Law in African Regional Economic Communities” in Johannes Döveling, Hamudi I. Majamba, Richard Frimpong Oppong, Ulrike Wanitzek eds,Harmonisation of Laws in the East African Community: The State of Affairs with Comparative Insights from the European Union and Other Regional Economic Communities(Nairobi: LawAfrica, 2018) at 157-169.
  4. “Nigeria” in Jürgen Basedow, Franco Ferrari, Pedro de Miguel Asensio & Giesela Rühl (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Private International Law (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2017) at 2378-2386
  5. “Ghana” in Jürgen Basedow, Franco Ferrari, Pedro de Miguel Asensio & Giesela Rühl (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Private International Law (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2017) at 2112-2119.
  6. “Foreign Law in Commonwealth African Courts” in Yuko Nishitani (Eds.) Treatment of Foreign Law: Dynamics towards Convergence? (Springer International Publishing AG, 2017) at 601-611.
  7. “Enforcement” in William A. Schabas and Shannonbrooke Murphy (Eds.) Research Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals(Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2017) at 273-298 [Co-author: Angela M. Barreto].
  8. “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.
  9. “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) at 45-63.
  10. “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 – latest update 2014).
  11. “Ghana” in Diego P. Fernandez Arroyo (Eds.) Consumer Protection in International Private Relationships (Asuncion: Center for the Studies of Law, Economy and Politics, 2010) at 233-244.
  12. “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) at 319-340.
  13. “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) at 443-465.
Journal Articles
  1. “The East African Court of Justice, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards and the East African Community Integration Process” (2019) 63 Journal of African Law 1-23
  2. “Foreign Same-Sex Marriages Before Commonwealth African Courts” (2017) 18 Yearbook of Private International Law 36-60 (Co-author: Solomon Amoateng).
  3. “Damages for Breach and Interpretation of Jurisdiction Agreements in Common Law Canada” (2017) 95 Canadian Bar Review 383-412 (Co-author: Shannon Kathleen Clark Gibbs).
  4. “The High Court of Ghana Declines to Enforce an ECOWAS Court Judgment” (2017) 25 African Journal of International and Comparative Law 127-132.
  5. “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Commonwealth African Countries” (2014) XV Yearbook of Private International Law 365-386.
  6. “Globalization and Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa” (2014) 36 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review 153-160.
  7. “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts” (2014) 5 Journal of International Dispute Settlement 344-371 (Co-author: Lisa C. Niro).
  8. "Legitimacy of Regional Economic Integration Courts in Africa” (2014) 7 African Journal of Legal Studies 61-85.
  9. “Enforcing judgments of the SADC Tribunal in the domestic courts of member states” (2010) 10 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 115-142.
  10. “Private International Law Scholarship in Africa (1884-2009) – A Selected Bibliography” (2010) 58 American Journal of Comparative Law 319-342.
  11. “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.
  12. “Re-defining the Relations between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities” (2009) 9 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 5-25.
  13. “A Decade of Private International Law in African Courts 1997-2007 (Part II)” (2008) X Yearbook of Private International Law 367-408.
  14. “Roman-Dutch Law meets the Common Law on Jurisdiction in International Matters” (2008) 4 Journal of Private International Law 311-327.
  15. “Making Regional Economic Community Laws into Enforceable National Laws - Constitutional and Judicial Challenges” (2008) 8 Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 149-178.
  16. “Re-imagining International Law: An Examination of Recent Trends in the Reception of International Law into National Legal Systems in Africa” (2007) 30 Fordham International Law Journal 296-345.
  17. “A Decade of Private International Law in African Courts 1997-2007 (Part I)” (2007) IX Yearbook of Private International Law 223-255.
  18. “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.
  19. “Private International Law in Africa: The Past, Present and Future” (2007) 55 American Journal of Comparative Law 677-719.
  20. “Mere Presence and International Competence in Private International Law” (2007) 3 Journal of Private International Law 321-332.
  21. “Canadian Courts Enforce Foreign Non-Money Judgments” (2007) 70 Modern Law Review 670-679.
  22. “Choice of Law and Forum Agreement Survives a Constitutional Challenge in the Kenya Court of Appeal” (2007) 33:1 Commonwealth Law Bulletin158-163.
  23. "Private International Law and the African Economic Community: A Plea for Greater Attention” (2006) 55 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 911-928.
  24. “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.
  25. “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.
  26. “Enforcing Foreign Non-Money Judgments: Some Recent Developments in Canada and Beyond” (2006) 39 University of British Columbia Law Review 257-286.
  27. “Private International Law and the African Economic Community: A Plea for Greater Attention” (2006) Journal of South African Law 497-509.
  28. “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.
  29. “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ghana: A Second Look at a Colonial Inheritance” (2005) 31:4 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 19-36.
Book Reviews
  1. Review of African Regional Community Courts and their Contribution to Continental Integration by Jorg Kleis (2019) 27 African Journal of International and Comparative Law [forthcoming]
  2. Review of Regional Developmentalism through International Law – Establishing an African Economic Community by Jonathan Bashi Rudahindwa, online: Afronomicslaw.org
  3. Review of Reflections on the Supreme Court of Ghana by Samuel Kofi Date-Bah in (2016) 5 Global Journal of Comparative Law 279-286.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Review of Documents in International Economic Law by Francis Botchway (2007) 10 Journal of International Economic Law 405-408.
  7. 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.
 Research
Current Research

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.

 Conferences
Inagural Lecture
  1. The Government of Ghana and International Arbitration (Inaugural Lecture as Fellow to the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Accra, Ghana, 1 September 2017).
Keynote/Plenary Presentations
  1. “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.
  2. “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.
  3. “The Constitution of Ghana and the Subject Matter Jurisdiction of Arbitral Tribunals” Ghana Bar Association Conference on Arbitration, Anti-Corruption and the Role of a Dynamic Bar, Accra, Ghana 16-17 July 2015.
  4. “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.
  5. “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).
  6. ‘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.
  7. “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
  1. Enforcement of Judgments of International Courts in National Courts, 31 July 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
  2. Party autonomy in Comparative Private International Law, 2 August 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
  3. History, Development and Future of African Private International Law, 6 August 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
  4. External Values (culture, human rights, constitutionalism etc.) and African Private International Law, 8 August 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
  5. Civil Relationships and Surrogate Motherhood in African Private International Law, 13 August 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
  6. Recent Developments in Canadian Conflict of Laws, 15 August 2012, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands.
Other Conference Presentations
  1. “Commentator on ‘Restructuring Regional Trading Regime in Africa: A Preliminary Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreements by Olabisi D. Akinkugbe’”, Purdy Crawford Emerging Business Scholars Workshop, Halifax, NS, Canada 19-20 October 2018.
  2. “Past Experiences and Visions for the Future of Tanzania-German Centre for Eastern African Legal Studies (TGCL)”, TGCL Alumni Perspectives on the Challenges and Opportunities of Regional Integration in East Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 26-27 September 2018.
  3. “The Effectiveness of Community Law in Member States’ Legal Systems”, Steering Regional Development through Regional Economic Communities in Africa: Legal, Economic and Political Instruments Conference, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 31 May to 3 June 2018.
  4. “The Hague Conference and Africa: Challenges and Opportunities”, Hague Conference on Private International Law 125 - Ways Forward: Challenges and Opportunities in an Increasingly Connected World Conference, Hong Kong SAR, China, 18-20 April 2018.
  5. “Developing Common Understanding on the Topic and on the Research Project – Legal Perspectives” Steering Regional Development through Regional Economic Communities in Africa: Legal, Economic and Political Instruments Conference, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 16-18 October 2017 (via Video Link).
  6. “Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards and the East African Community Integration Process”, University of Bayreuth Public Lecture Series entitled ‘Cultures of Judicial Cooperation — Negotiating and Implementing East African Integration’, Bayreuth, Germany, 12 July 2017.
  7. “Harmonisation of Laws in Africa with Special Reference to the Law of Obligations”, Master of Laws and Undergraduate Students, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Law, Kumasi, Ghana, 17 November 2016.
  8. “Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Africa” Inaugural Conference of the African Commercial Law Foundation, University of Cambridge, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, United Kingdom 14-15 July 2016.
  9. “Same-Sex Marriage: An Emerging International Family Law Issue in Commonwealth Africa” 10th Anniversary of the Journal of Private International Law Conference, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, Cambridge, United Kingdom 2-6 September 2015.
  10. “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.
  11. “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.
  12. “From Judgment to Justice: Enforcing International Judgments in National Court” Faculty Seminar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto Canada 18 January 2011.
  13. “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts” Faculty Seminar Series, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 7 January 2011.
  14. “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.
  15. “A Relational Theory of Regional Economic Integration-Implications for Africa” Inaugural Conference, Society of International Economic Law, Geneva, Switzerland 15-17 July 2008.
  16. “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.
  17. “‘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.
  18. “Out of the Cold: Africa and Private International Law” Journal of Private International Law Conference 2007, Birmingham, United Kingdom 26-27 June 2007.
  19. “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.
  20. “Commissions of Inquiry under Ghana Law” Lecture delivered to the Administrative Law class at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana 2002.
 Links
Richard Frimpong Oppong
Contact

Office:
OM 4747
Email:
roppong@tru.ca
Phone:
250-852-7696

Courses
  • Conflict of Laws
    (LAWF 3600)
  • Contracts
    (LAWF 3030)
  • Sale of Goods
    (LAWF 3880)