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Copyright © International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). All rights reserved.
( Source of the document: ICC Digital Library )
A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention
1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction(s), if relevant)
2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention
19 May 1988.
Cameroon ratified the Convention by Decree No. 87/1041, 24 July 1987.
3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I (3) of the New York Convention regarding:
(b) commercial relationships?
4. In addition to arbitral awards made in the territory of another State, the New York Convention (Art. I (1)) also applies to arbitral awards not considered as domestic awards in the State where recognition and enforcement are sought. Are there any awards rendered in your country that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention and the answers to this Questionnaire are applicable to them?
B. National sources of law
5. What specific sources of law are applicable to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. statutes, regulations, codes, directives, other legal instruments)?
(i) Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007 establishing conditions for the enforcement of foreign judicial decisions and foreign arbitral awards made in countries not related to Cameroon by a bilateral or multilateral judicature convention. Under such conventions (they include a bilateral convention between Cameroon and France and the multilateral Tananarive Convention between several African countries and Cameroon), foreign awards are recognized and enforced in accordance with the New York Convention;
(ii) Law No. 2003/009 of 10 July 2003 determining the competent jurisdictions referred to in the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration;
(iii) Chapter VI of the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration;
(iv) Law No. 75/18 of 8 Dec. 1975 on the recognition and enforcement of ICSID awards in Cameroon.
OHADA is the French acronym of the Organization of Business Law in Africa, currently comprising the following 17 States: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Bissau Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea (Conakry), Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The purpose of OHADA is to stimulate and secure investment within the OHADA space at both legal and judicial levels. OHADA was created by a treaty signed in Port-Louis (Mauritius) on 17 Oct. 1993, modified in Quebec (Canada) on 17 Oct. 2008. OHADA consists of the following four bodies: (i) Council of Ministers (Justice and Finance Ministers of the Contracting States), a legislative body that adopts regulations and common business law called 'Uniform Acts'; (ii) Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA), a supranational court based in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) that ensures the common interpretation and application of OHADA law and administers arbitration proceedings under the CCJA Rules of Arbitration; (iii) Regional High Judiciary School based in Porto Novo (Benin), which trains judges and other lawyers of Contracting States in the new common business law; (iv) Permanent Secretary based in Yaoundé (Cameroon), who is in charge of administration of OHADA. Art. 1 of the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration states that the Act applies to arbitration seated in an OHADA Contracting State. Art. 34 of the same Act states that awards made under rules other than those in the Act will be recognized in accordance with the Act or 'under the conditions provided by international agreements possibly applicable'. The New York Convention will be applied if an award creditor in an OHADA Contracting State that is also party to the New York Convention considers the latter to be more favourable to it.
C. Limitation periods (time limits)
(a) Is there a limitation period (time limit) applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?
There is no specific limitation period applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards under Cameroonian law. It may be argued that the limitation period applicable to legal proceedings for the enforcement of judgements also applies to foreign awards.
(Source: Civil Code, Art. 2262.)
According to the above-mentioned Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007, the competent judge must make his or her decision within thirty days of being seized.
(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?
Assuming that the limitation period applicable to the enforcement of judgements under Cameroonian law also applies to foreign awards, the relevant period is 30 years from the date of the award.
D. National courts and court proceedings
7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?
The president of the court of first instance, or magistrate delegated by said president for this purpose, shall be the judge in charge of litigation relating to the enforcement of foreign judicial decisions and foreign arbitral awards.
(Sources: Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007, Art. 5; Law No. 2003/009 of 10 July 2003, Art. 4(2).)
8. What requirements, if any, must be met for the authority or court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. domicile or assets of respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?
Domicile or fixed assets of the respondent in the jurisdiction of the court.
9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?
The first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement is obtained through ex parte proceedings.
(Source: Law No. 2003/009 of 10 July 2003, Art. 5.)
(a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?
According to Art. 32 of the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration, decisions granting recognition or enforcement are not subject to any form of appeal or recourse, while decisions denying recognition or enforcement may be appealed in the OHADA Common Court of Justice and Arbitration.
According to Art. 11 of Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007, 'foreign arbitral awards are res judicata and may be recognized and made enforceable in Cameroon by the judge in charge of litigation related to the execution of judgments, in accordance with the conditions provided for by relevant international agreements or, in default, in conformity with similar conditions provided for by the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration and Law No. 2003/009 of 10 July 2003 to designate the competent Courts mentioned in the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration...'
(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?
One. To Supreme Court.
(Source: Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007, Art 8 (3).)
11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets (i.e. party actually obtains possession of assets as opposed to simply freezing assets)?
As a general rule, execution against assets may be obtained after expiry of the time limit for filing an appeal against the first decision granting enforcement of a foreign award (one month after decision officially notified to the other party) or the time limit for filing an application to set aside such an award. Execution suspended from the time of the filing.
(Source: Law No. 75/16 of 8 Dec. 1975 defining procedure and organization of Supreme Court, Art. 6.)
However, it is possible to obtain provisional execution against assets in Cameroon if either the award contains an order for provisional execution or the judge grants an order for provisional execution. In such circumstances, execution against assets may be obtained as soon as the decision granting enforcement or the judge's order for provisional execution is officially notified to the other party.
(Source: Law No. 92/008 of 14 Apr. 1992 setting conditions for enforcement of judicial decisions.)
E. Evidence required
(a) What evidence must be supplied for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. arbitral award, contract containing arbitration clause, affidavits, witness statements, etc.)?
The following evidence must be supplied: (i) the arbitral award and (ii) the arbitration agreement.
(Source: OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration, Ch. VI, Art. 31.)
(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. entire contract or only arbitration clause)?
It is necessary to supply the award in its entirety and the relevant pages of the document containing the arbitration clause.
(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?
Either originals or duly certified copies are required.
(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?
One original or duly certified copy of each document is required.
(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?
The court of first instance keeps any original documents filed, unless a written and reasoned request for return of the originals is submitted and granted.
(a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?
Yes, depending on relevant jurisdiction within Cameroon, because Cameroon is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages.
(b) If yes, into what language?
French, in French speaking jurisdictions within Cameroon; English, in English speaking jurisdictions within Cameroon.
(c) Is it necessary for the translations to be certified and, if yes, by whom (official or sworn translator, diplomatic or consular agent (of which country?) or some other person)?
These documents must be translated by a sworn translator registered on the list of experts kept by the competent jurisdiction within Cameroon.
(d) Is it necessary to provide a full translation of the documents or only a translation of certain parts (e.g. entire award or only part setting forth the decisions; entire contract or only the arbitration clause)?
It is necessary to provide a full translation of the documents submitted.
F. Stay of enforcement
(a) Can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement pending the outcome of an application to set aside or suspend the foreign award before the competent authority referred to in Art. V (1)(e) of the New York Convention?
No. However, according to the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration, where an application to set aside an award has been recognized by the competent court, any decision on the enforcement and recognition of that award is suspended (Art. 32). If the application to set aside the award is rejected, the decision on enforcement and recognition of the award is validated (Art. 33).
If recognition or enforcement is sought pursuant to the New York Convention, Art. VI of the New York Convention is applicable. As Cameroon is a party to both the OHADA Treaty and the New York Convention, a party seeking the recognition and enforcement of a foreign award has the choice of relying on either the New York Convention or the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration.
(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?
A partially insolvent debtor may ask the court for a 'grace period' (délai de grâce), within which to pay its debt. In the event of total insolvency, legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement against an insolvent debtor may be stayed for the duration of the insolvency proceedings. The recovery of amounts awarded in arbitration may also be affected by restructuring plans applicable in Cameroon if the debtor is a State or State-owned corporation; in such cases, the Cameroon government systematically seeks a negotiated settlement.
(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?
(a) Do the documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record? If yes, can any steps be taken to preserve the confidentiality of such documents?
Documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement do not form part of the public record. Interested parties may consult such documents only by request to the president of the court.
(b) If there are hearings on recognition and enforcement, are such hearings confidential? If not, can steps be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the legal proceedings?
Hearings held in inter partes proceedings are generally public, although the judge may decide on his or her own initiative or at a party's request that a hearing shall be conducted in private.
(c) Are judgments on recognition and enforcement published? If yes, can steps be taken to remove the names of the parties or avoid publication of confidential information (e.g. business or State secrets)?
H. Other issues
16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?
The rules relating to the provisional enforcement of court judgements are applicable also to arbitral awards; if the competent judge finds that the interim or partial award is not contrary to public policy, the award will be enforced.
(Sources: Code of Civil Procedure, Art. 597; Law No. 92/008 of 14 Apr. 1992 setting conditions for enforcement of judicial decisions.)
17. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards (e.g. order requiring a party to deliver up share certificates or other property)?
There is no restriction on a party's ability to obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards.
(Source: Law No. 2007/001 of 19 Apr. 2007, Art. 5.)
18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards?
Yes, if recognition and enforcement is sought pursuant to the New York Convention, in which case Art. V(1)(c) of the New York Convention applies.
19. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1) (e) of the New York Convention?
If an award has been set aside by a competent authority, it might not be enforced, in accordance with Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention. However, it may be argued that Art. VII of the New York Convention allows an award that has been set aside by the authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the Convention to be recognized and enforced in the OHADA space, given that Art. 26 of the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration does not mention the setting aside of an award in its country of origin as a ground for refusing the recognition and enforcement of that award. Art. 26 of the OHADA Uniform Act on Arbitration was inspired by French arbitration law and the Hilmarton and Putrabali cases. It could be argued that this case law applies within the OHADA space
(Sources: Cass. civ. 1re civ., 23 Mar. 1994, Hilmarton, Rev. arb. 1994, 327 (Annot. C. Jarrosson), see also A van den Berg, (1998) 9:2 ICC ICArb. Bull. 15); Cass. civ. 1re., 29 June 2007, Putrabali, Rev. arb. 2007, 507 (Rep. P. Ancel, Annot. E. Gaillard).)
20. Are there any other procedural or practical requirements relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which are worth mentioning (e.g. unusually high court costs, filing fees, stamp duties, obligation to post security as a condition for seeking recognition and enforcement, obligation to identify the assets that will be the object of enforcement, etc.)?
Gaston Kenfack Douajni
Mary Concilia Anchang