Inside Africa blog

Legal developments around Africa

Part 2 Enforcing arbitration awards and English court judgments against Ghana

Charles Golsong

As regards the enforcement of English court judgments:

  • where there is reciprocity (as there is between Ghana and England under the Administration of Justice Act 1920), the High Court of Ghana will enforce an English court judgment of the superior courts that is final and conclusive;
  • a statutory scheme is in place for the registration of foreign judgments in Ghana, currently regulated by Part V of the Ghanaian Courts Act 1993 (the “GCA”), which operates on the basis of reciprocity. Pursuant to section 81(1) of the GCA, if the President of Ghana is satisfied that if the benefits of the scheme were extended to judgments from a particular country similar benefits would be accorded in that country to judgments from Ghana, the President may, by means of a legislative instrument, designate such country as entitled to the benefits of the scheme;
  • however, and despite the potential for automatic registration of a foreign judgment, a person against whom a registered judgment may be enforced, can apply for the registration to be set aside. There exist both mandatory and discretionary grounds for setting aside the registration.
  • The mandatory grounds are i) absence of jurisdiction, ii) non-appearance in the original proceedings due to the fact that the person was not given sufficient time to prepare a defence, iii) fraud, and iv) inconsistency with Ghanaian public policy; and
  • The discretionary grounds are i) where the registering court is satisfied that the matter in dispute in the proceedings in the original court had, prior to the date of the judgment in the original court, been the subject of a final and conclusive judgment by a court that had jurisdiction in the matter, and ii) where an appeal is pending or the applicant is entitled to appeal may be a ground for setting aside registration.

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