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Prof. Dr. Emilia Onyema

Dr. Emilia Onyema is a Professor of International Commercial Law at SOAS University of London where she teaches international commercial arbitration, international investment law and commercial law in a global context. She is qualified to practice law in Nigeria, as a Solicitor in England & Wales, Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and sits as an independent arbitrator. She is a Board member of the Africa Arbitration Association, member of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, BVI Centre Arbitration Committee, LACIAC Court member, among others. She convenes the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference series and leads the SOAS Arbitration in Africa biennial survey research project; she co-authored the African Promise and founded the Arbitration Fund for African Students (AFAS) a registered charitable organisation in England. Her research interests focus on the development of international arbitration in Africa and the engagement of Africans in international arbitration. She has experience as presiding, co and sole arbitrator, and acts as legal expert witness in international arbitration. Her recent publications include:


  1. Emilia Onyema (ed) Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration, Kluwer Law International, 2018, 417 pages.
  2. – (ed), The Transformation of Arbitration in Africa: The Role of Arbitral Institutions, Kluwer Law International, 2016, 209 pages.
  3. -, International Commercial Arbitration and the Arbitrator’s Contract, Routledge Cavendish, 2010, 257 pages.

Articles in Refereed Journals and book chapters:

  1. “African Participation in the ICSID System: Appointment and Disqualification of Arbitrators”, ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal (2020).
  2.  “Reimagining the Framework for resolving Intra-African Commercial Disputes in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement”, World Trade Review (2019), pp 1-25.
  3. Emilia Onyema & Isaiah Bozimo, “International Arbitration in West African States”, in Lise Boseman (ed.,) Arbitration in Africa: a Practitioner’s Guide, 2nd, Kluwer, 2021.
  4. Emilia Onyema, “OHADA Arbitration and Common Law African Countries”, in Ngwanza (ed), Vingt ans d’arbitrage OHADA: bilan et perspectives, LexisNexis, 2019, pages 427-441.
  5. “Shifts in Dispute Resolution Processes of West African States” in Moscati A, Roberts M, & Palmer M (eds) Comparative Dispute Resolution Research Handbook (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020).
  6. “The Role of African Courts and Judges in Arbitration” in Onyema E (ed) Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration, Kluwer Law International (Wolters Kluwer, 2018)
  7. “The Jurisdictional Tensions Between Domestic Courts and Arbitral Tribunals” in Menaker, Andrea (ed) International Arbitration and the Rule of Law: Contribution and Conformity, ICCA Congress Series No 19, Kluwer (2017) pp 481-500.