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Monday, Jun 17th 2019

The ACP Legal Association

  • OHADAC and ACP Legal

    The partisans of this project, called OHADAC (Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in the Caribbean), decided to meet within the framework of the association ACP Legal, to help interested Caribbean States to implement the project.

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  • OHADAC in brief

    This brochure has been published by the ACP Legal Association.

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Status of the OHADAC project's progress

13 Jan 2014

Reminder: Genesis of the OHADAC project (Organization for the harmonization of business law in the Caribbean).

The OHADAC project is inspired by:

  • the remarkable success of the business-law unification program initiated in Africa through the OHADA framework, and the worldwide credibility and recognition brought to business law in Africa through the OHADA reforms in Africa (www.ohada.com),
  • the success of ECTEL [Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority] regional system of rules and regulations covering the electronic communications sectors, implemented in the Eastern Caribbean within the framework of the OECS [Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States] with the support of the World Bank, which legal and regulatory unified framework of telecommunication has facilitated extension of the submarine cable systems “Guadeloupe Numérique” and “Martinique Numérique”, to all eastern Caribbean states, and the development of concrete plans to extend these systems to the 3 Guianas portion of the Shield to the south, and to Haiti, Santo Domingo, Jamaica and Cuba to the north (www.acpnumerique.com),
  • the extant, extraordinarily successful implementation of cooperation in the regional digital sector.

This is why an initiative was launched through the Regional Council of Guadalupe, Martinique and French Guyana (within the framework of the 2007-2013 INTERREG program 2013) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pointe-à-Pitre, in relation to the implementation of a harmonized business law system in the Caribbean (OHADAC), to serve the Caribbean states and territories of CARICOM and the OECS. The priority sectors for harmonization are arbitration, company law, general commercial law, law relating to the execution of judgments, and the creation of a regional court of justice and arbitration.

The Association ACP Legal, facilitator of the OHADAC project

The OHADAC project is led by the ACP Legal Association (French West Indies). Created in 2007, it is chaired by Mrs. Catherine SARGENTI headquartered in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadalupe (FWI). ACP Legal was formed to implement the OHADAC project. Its purpose is to support businesses and legal professionals, whether they be English, Spanish, or French-speaking Caribbeans, Europeans, or Americans, as they work in the Caribbean territories to establish a unified system of commercial law. This system of law is itself for the purpose of furthering economic and human development by promoting exchanges and regional integration in the Caribbean. The support of the European Commission within the guidelines of economic partnership agreements is gratefully acknowledged.

The ACP Legal Association benefitted from a financial agreement established in November 2010, within the INTERREG 2007-2013 framework, calling for the implementation of the OHADAC project by the following means:

  • Forming, in the partner countries, clubs or national chapters whose mission is to assess the existing legal practices and relevant priorities of the member countries;
  • Proposing harmonized business laws for adoption by the sovereign states, and/or submitting draft codes of best practices for acceptance by the departmental “consular chambers”;
  • Proposing uniform acts to be adopted, ratified, or promulgated by the states of the region, and/or proposing codes of best practices to be adopted by the departmental consular chambers;

The OHADAC project's evolution

The OHADAC project's FEDER convention by its original terms came to an end on 30 June 2012, and has obtained various amendments postponing in this way the project's deadline to 12 December 2014,and thus permitting the following modifications to the project's agenda.

  • To launch the invitation to effect an inventory of legal rules currently in force within the Greater Caribbean and the Guiana Shield by allotment;
  • To reduce from 7 to 5 the business-law categories within the inventory's scope;
  • To create the first OHADAC institution: “The OHADAC Court of Arbitration and Mediation”;
  • To modify the technical and financial appendices dated 26 June 2006 as per ACP Legal request. The new technical and financial appendix has no effect on the project.

Status of the project's activities

The OHADAC project is at its sixth periodic report and is undertaking implementation of its proposals. The objectives of some of these proposals have been fulfilled, others are in the process of finalisation, and a few others are beginning implementation. In summary, the progress of the project is the following:

  • The promotion and diffusion phase has been completed through the organisation of forums, conferences and seminars. It has led to the creation of the OHADAC Chapters across the Caribbean, as well as the coordination of meetings and seminars, and the dissemination of relevant information amongst legal professionals.
  • The www.ohadac.com website is currently finalising its renovation work. Primary mode of communicating the evolution of the OHADAC project, the new website will continue to be updated in tandem with the evolution of the project's and activities. In addition, this new conception encompasses a federating mission by centralising websites of regional organizations, arbitration centers, research centers, law faculties and schools, chambers of commerce and industry, and all other Caribbean institutions involved in the implementation of legal regional integration within the Caribbean. The sole purpose for these initiatives is to make available and to promote as broadly as possible information concerning the OHADAC project and its evolution.

The ongoing inventory of rules of law in the Greater Caribbean and the Guiana Shield is based on the following categories:

  1. A comparative study of the system of laws operating within the states and territories of OHADAC, presented as the “OHADAC Principles on international commercial contracts”.
  2. The “OHADAC Model Law on Commercial Companies”, which will include fundamental provisions related to commercial companies of different types, such as: partnerships (collective, limited partnership) and incorporated companies (limited company, limited liability company) as well as other modern forms of associations, including economic interest groups, joint ventures or mixed companies, and companies with flexible capital.
  3. A regulatory framework for OHADAC ad-hoc arbitration, and a comparative study of legal regimes relative to arbitration in Latin America and Caribbean countries, including the most modern regulatory structures of judicial systems and international organizations. This regulatory framework and study will be available on a computerised information system and database designated “OHADAC Data Base on International Commercial Arbitration”.
  4. The “OHADAC Model Law on private international law”, based on a comparative study of current legal systems in force within the states and territories of the Greater Caribbean and the Guiana Shield.

The official presentation of these model laws, frameworks and studies will be effected at a conference to be organized by ACP Legal towards the end of 2014, in the presence of all the OHADAC clubs and national Chapters. ACP Legal plans to initiate the very first OHADAC Institution during this conference, namely “The OHADAC Arbitration and Mediation Court”.

Concerning this last point, it is emphasised that all formation documents for the future OHADAC Court are ready, and that this initiative is based on two existing agreements in principle. The first agreement concerns the location of the Court: A Caribbean state, subject to approval by other relevant states, has already offered to host the Court. The second agreement includes the OHADAC project within the economic partnership agreement framework “CARIFORUM-EUROPEAN UNION”, the objective being to establish the permanence of the first OHADAC Institution, the future OHADAC Arbitration and Mediation Court, thus enabling the OHADAC project to formalise its presence within the context of harmonised law.

OHADAC supports and encourages the long-term legal and economic evolution in the region and, in particular, creates the basis for a true regional integration among the Caribbean countries.

For additional information, please feel free to contact:

Dr. Jean Alain Penda
OHADAC Project Coordinator
E-mail: japenda@ohadac.com

Published on 2014-01-13, 11:41 am

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