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Chang Law has successfully recovered on a USD $41+ Million Award, on behalf of an international client against an African sovereign state. As reported in February 2015, Chang Law successfully represented the client in a FIDIC construction dispute, helping obtain a positive arbitration award in early 2015.

The claim arose out of a power infrastructure construction contract awarded by an African State to the client, an Africa-based contractor.  The dispute was seated in Africa, subject to the law of an African state, and adjudicated pursuant to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (1976)The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, acted as Registry in the matter.

In the recently issued award, the Tribunal found the African State liable for breach of the construction agreement as well as a related financing agreement, and awarded damages, plus legal fees, costs of the arbitration, and pre- and post-Award legal interest. The matter involved complex issues relating to choice of law analysis, contract interpretation, and quantum.

Within six months of the issuance of the award, Chang Law worked closely with the client to recover the full award amount, including all legal fees, costs and interest. Noting the special difficulties of recovering against a sovereign state, Principal Eric Z. Chang remarked:

“Recovering against sovereign states, whether through recognition and enforcement, settlement, or otherwise, obviously presents special challenges. However, in today’s global economy, state actors, including in Africa, are no longer able to stonewall recovery on arbitration awards by virtue of their sovereign status. Even very isolated countries are likely to hold assets outside of their borders, assets which are susceptible to enforcement, or that can be used as bargaining chips in settlement negotiations.”

The recovery caps a year of success in Africa for Chang Law, which focuses on Africa disputes in the commercial, energy and infrastructure sectors.

About Chang Law

Chang Law is a boutique international arbitration firm focusing on cross-border commercial arbitration disputes, as well as investment treaty arbitration disputes between investors and sovereign states.  While the firm has a particular focus on Africa, it can handle disputes anywhere in the world, across a breadth of industry sectors.  Contact us for more information.


About the Author:

Eric Z. Chang, firm founder and Principal, has extensive experience practicing both in civil law and common law systems. He is a former French Avocat à la cour and a current member of the New York and California Bars. He has practiced in Paris, New York and California on cross-border matters involving parties and disputes in Africa, Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. His experience covers a wide range of issues and industries: he has represented commercial clients in cases dealing with construction delays and disruptions, finance, securities and accounting fraud, shareholder disputes, maritime attachments, oil and energy, banking and telecommunications. He also represents clients on investor-state disputes, including bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitration.