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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: July 2011

9 - Interstate relations, economic transactions and private international law


Interstate relational issues are a feature of economic integration. Regional economic communities operate within the context of multiple state legal systems. The legal relations between the member states of a community are just as important for effective community development as community–state relations. Such relations directly impact on economic transactions within a community. There are socio-political and economic dimensions of interstate relations, but from a legal perspective a number of issues arise in this context. Are normative acts in one state recognized and enforced in other member states? Are there any constraints attached to the recognition and enforcement of foreign normative acts? Do member states share the same legal traditions – common law, civil law, Roman–Dutch law and so on – and how does that impact upon their relations with one another? What is the degree of harmonization of laws between the member states? Should harmonization of laws be pursued as part of the integration processes? In the absence of harmonization, are there any approaches or techniques that could be adopted? To what extent do judges take account of each other's jurisprudence? These are weighty issues likely to be faced by communities in Africa, especially as they progress through the stages of economic integration.