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SOAS University of London


Member profile details

SOAS University of London
I practise/work in
  • International Arbitration
Profile Photo (Headshot or Logo)
Title (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr)
How you'd like your name to appear in the directory
Emilia Onyema
Non-African Country (Please Specify)
United Kingdom
Country of Birth
Nigerian; British
Individual Member Profession (see note below)
  • Academic
  • Arbitrator
  • Mediator/Conciliator
  • Arbitration/ADR Expert Witness
  • Other
I have not sat as an arbitrator but hold this relevant qualification (see note below)
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
Number of Cases as Counsel in international arbitration/ADR
Number of Cases as Sole Arbitrator in international arbitration
Number of Cases as Co-Arbitrator in international arbitration
Number of Cases as International Tribunal Chair
Number of Cases as International Arbitration Tribunal Secretary
Number of Cases as International Mediator/Conciliator
Number of cases as Arbitration/ADR Expert Witness
  • 1-5
Areas of Speciality
  • Agency
  • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Distribution / Franchising
  • Finance & Banking
  • Insurance
  • International Commercial Disputes
  • International Investment Disputes
  • Investment law
  • Joint Venture
  • Maritime
  • Public International Law
  • Real Estate
  • Sales & Purchases
  • Shipping & Commodities
  • Transport
Other Speciality (Please Specify)
Shareholders disputes
Degrees/Qualifications, Institutions and Dates Obtained
PhD, Queen Mary, University of London, 2007
LLM, King's College, University of London, 2001
LLB, University of Jos, 1988
Solicitor, England & Wales, 2002
Fellow, CIArb, 2008
List Arbitration/ADR Panels you belong to
Nairobi Centre for IA
Asian IAC Panel
Dubai IAC Panel
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Centre
Kigali International Arbitration Centre
Professional Experience (Job Title, Organisation and Dates)
Professor of International Commercial Law, SOAS University of London, 2020-Present
Alternate Tribunal Secretary, Commonwealth Secretariat Administrative Tribunal 2002-2019
Partner, Emilia Onyema & Co, Lagos, 1993-2002
Associate, Candide-Johnson & Co, Lagos, 1992-1993
Associate, F.O. Omenye & Co, Lagos, 1990-1992
Dr T. C. Osanakpo & Co, Port Harcourt 1989 - 1990
Dr Emilia Onyema is a Professor of International Commercial Law at SOAS, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; qualified to practice law in Nigeria; and as a Solicitor in England & Wales. She sits as an independent arbitrator and has experience as sole, presiding and co arbitrator. She is a member of the court of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) and the Lagos Court of Arbitration, the Advisory Committee of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) and she presides over the Advisory Committee of the Libya Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. She is also a member of various professional associations including the Nigerian Bar Association and the International Bar Association. She convenes the “SOAS Arbitration in Africa” conference series; publishes the Arbitration in Africa survey and co-author of the African Promise. She has published widely on arbitration related issues.
Legal Background
  • Common Law
  • International Law
Qualified in (specify jurisdiction(s))
Nigeria; England & Wales (Solicitor)
Types of agreements from which disputes in your practice most frequently arise
  • Built Environment
  • Concessions
  • Employment
  • Energy Pricing
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Loan
  • Partnership
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Sale of Business
  • Sale of Goods
  • Share Purchase/Joint Venture
  • Shipbuilding
  • Tender Processes
Other Agreement (Please specify)
Investment in Business
List arbitration/ADR articles, book chapters, books and where published
1. Emilia Onyema (ed) Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration, Kluwer Law International, 2018, 417 pages.
2. Emilia Onyema (ed), The Transformation of Arbitration in Africa: The Role of Arbitral Institutions, Kluwer Law International, 2016, 209 pages.
3. Emilia Onyema, International Commercial Arbitration and the Arbitrator’s Contract, Routledge Cavendish, 2010, 257 pages.
4. Emilia Onyema, “The African Experience of the ICSID System: Procedural Issues”, ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal (2018 forthcoming).
5. Emilia Onyema, “Regional Arbitration Institution for ECOWAS: Lessons from OHADA Common Court of Justice and Arbitration” (2014) Int’l ALR Issue 5, pp 99-111.
6. Emilia Onyema, “The Multi-door Court House (MDC) Scheme in Nigeria: a case study of the Lagos MDC”, (2013) vol 7 No 2 Apogee Journal of Business, Property & Constitutional Law, pp 96-129.
7. Onyema, “The New Ghana ADR Act 2010: A Critical Overview”, (2012) vol 28 no 1, Arbitration International”, pp 101-124.
8. Emilia Onyema, “A critique of the New 2009 Arbitration Law of Lagos State”, (2010) vol 2 no 5, Apogee Journal of Business, Property & Constitutional Law, pp 1-24.
9. Emilia Onyema, ‘Enforcement of Arbitral Awards in Sub-Sahara Africa’, (2010) vol 26 no 1, Arbitration International, pp 115-138 – translated into Chinese for a Chinese Journal in 2010.
10. Emilia Onyema, ‘The doctrine of Separability under Nigerian Law’, (2009) vol 1 no 1, Apogee Journal of Business, Property & Constitutional Law, pp 65-79.
11. Emilia Onyema, ‘Arbitration under the Ohada Regime’, (2008), vol 11 no 6, International Arbitration Law Review, pp 205-218.
12. Emilia Onyema, ‘Empirically Determined Factors in Appointing Arbitrators in International Commercial Arbitration’, (2007) vol 73 no.2, Arbitration 199 – 207.
13. Emilia Onyema, ‘The Role of the International Arbitral tribunal Secretary’, Vindobona Journal, (2005) vol 9 no 1, pp 99-110.
14. Emilia Onyema, ‘Selection of Arbitrators in International Commercial Arbitration’, (2005) vol 8 no 2, International Arbitration Law Review, pp 45-54.
15. Emilia Onyema, ‘Power Shift in International Commercial Arbitration Proceedings’, (2004) vol 14 nos1&2, Caribbean Law Review, pp 62-77.
16. Emilia Onyema, ‘Drafting an Effective Arbitration Agreement in International Commercial Contracts’, (2003) vol 7 no 2, Vindobona Journal, pp 277- 286.
17. Emilia Onyema, ‘The Use of Med-Arb in International Commercial Dispute Resolution’, (2001) vol 12 no 3-4, American Review of International Arbitration, pp 411- 423.

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