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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
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
Director, Onyema Arbitration Services Limited, since 2021
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
Emilia Onyema is an independent arbitrator with experience as presiding, co and sole arbitrator, and acts as legal expert witness in international arbitration. She 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, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She convenes the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference series, leads the SOAS Arbitration in Africa biennial survey research project, co-authored the African Promise and conceived the SOAS counsel in arbitration training project. She is the founder of the charity, Arbitration Fund for African Students (AFAS).
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 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. -, 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.
4. Emilia Onyema, “Commercial Disputes under the AfCFTA: the case for regional African arbitral centres”, IBA Arbitration Committee Newsletter special issue on Arbitration in Africa (2021).
5. -, “African Participation in the ICSID System: Appointment and Disqualification of Arbitrators”, ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal (2020).
6. -, “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.
7. -, “Supportive attitude of English courts towards international commercial arbitration” (2019) Journal of Arab Arbitration, Vols 31 & 32, pp 5-11
8. -, “Regional Arbitration Institution for ECOWAS: Lessons from OHADA Common Court of Justice and Arbitration” (2014) Int’l ALR Issue 5, pp 99-111.
9. -, “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.
10. -, “The New Ghana ADR Act 2010: A Critical Overview”, (2012) vol 28 no 1, Arbitration International”, pp 101-124.
11. -, “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.
12. -, ‘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.
13. -, ‘The doctrine of Separability under Nigerian Law’, (2009) vol 1 no 1, Apogee Journal of Business, Property & Constitutional Law, pp 65-79.
14. -, ‘Arbitration under the Ohada Regime’, (2008), vol 11 no 6, International Arbitration Law Review, pp 205-218.
15. -, ‘Empirically Determined Factors in Appointing Arbitrators in International Commercial Arbitration’, (2007) vol 73 no.2, Arbitration 199 – 207.
16. -, ‘The Role of the International Arbitral tribunal Secretary’, Vindobona Journal, (2005) vol 9 no 1, pp 99-110.
17. -, ‘Selection of Arbitrators in International Commercial Arbitration’, (2005) vol 8 no 2, International Arbitration Law Review, pp 45-54.
18. -, ‘Power Shift in International Commercial Arbitration Proceedings’, (2004) vol 14 nos1&2, Caribbean Law Review, pp 62-77.
19. -, ‘Drafting an Effective Arbitration Agreement in International Commercial Contracts’, (2003) vol 7 no 2, Vindobona Journal, pp 277- 286.
20. -, ‘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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