The Faculty of Law at UCT is delighted to confirm the award of two new Fellowships to UCT graduates at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The Fellowships follow from an August 2021 Memorandum of Understanding between the Faculty of Law at UCT and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that established a framework for strengthening the PCA’s presence in South Africa and the dispute resolution capacity of UCT Law Faculty staff and students.
The MoU creates an annual one-year Fellowship Programme for UCT LLM graduates at the PCA headquarters in The Hague; makes hearing space in the OR Tambo Moot Court available for potential PCA arbitration and conciliation hearings taking place in Cape Town; and envisages broader academic and cultural exchanges.
The PCA-UCT Fellowship Programme offers a candidate ( a graduate of UCT’s LLM Dispute Resolution Programme) a Fellowship at the PCA’s Headquarters in The Hague for one full year. Over the course of the year, Fellows gain experience in the operations of the PCA’s International Bureau, with an emphasis on both the practical and legal aspects of international arbitration. While in The Hague, Fellows work with the PCA’s legal staff on legal, policy, and organisational matters arising from the PCA’s activities. Each Fellowship builds on the previous internships and fellowships offered to UCT LLM graduates. Fellows hold the title of Assistant Legal Counsel for the period of the Fellowship.
The inaugural 2022-2023 PCA-UCT Fellowship was awarded last year to 2019 LLM graduate Adebowale (“Debo”) Aluko (Nigeria), and the current 2023-2024 PCA-UCT Fellow is 2018 UCT graduate Mary Kamwengo (Zambia) who took up her Fellowship in September 2023.
In addition, the PCA and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (which work together in the Peace Palace through a Cooperation Agreement) joined forces to offer a joint PCA-ICCA Fellowship for 2023-2024. This newest Fellowship has been awarded to Courtney Kemp, a South African national who graduated with an LLM from UCT in 2020 and recently completed her articles at Clyde & Co in Johannesburg. She took up her Fellowship at the PCA in September 2023.
Previous recipients of PCA-ICCA internships and Fellowships (all UCT LLM graduates):
- Susan Kimani (Kenyan)
- Rhona Rwangyezi (Ugandan)
- Kathleen Mpofu (Zimbabwean)
UCT Adjunct Professor Lise Bosman - who is currently based at the Peace Palace in The Hague as Senior Legal Counsel to the Permanent Court of Arbitration - is Executive Director of ICCA (International Council for Commercial Arbitration); is the PCA Counsellor to the PCA's Secretary General for South Africa; and has been instrumental in the establishment of the UCT-PCA MoU. Professor Bosman and Dr Faadhil Adams, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Commercial Law at UCT and the PCA’s Representative in South Africa, also serve as the co-directors of UCT Law's newly launched Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Unit. At the launch event of this new research unit on 10th October 2023, Professor Danwood Chirwa, Dean of the Faculty of Law, welcomed the establishment of the unit and acknowledged the important role that practitioners and academics from Africa are playing in international arbitration.
In recent years the PCA has seen an increase in the number of arbitrations involving an African party as well as active attempts within the international arbitration community to return dispute resolution services involving African parties to the African continent. ICCA and the PCA have contributed to the creation of the Pan-African African Arbitration Association, and to the training of African judges and practitioners in dispute resolution matters.
The UCT Faculty of Law offers internationally respected undergraduate and postgraduate legal training and with the establishment of the Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Unit will contribute to key elements of this unique MoU – in particular, the strengthening of academic and professional exchanges that will continue to develop Faculty research and teaching, as well as contributing to arbitration and dispute resolution knowledge, practice and resources on the continent.