Topics publications: Trade law and regulation
The exhaustion of local remedies: The evolving jurisprudence of the COMESA Court of Justice
In August 2023, the Appellate Division of the COMESA Court of Justice delivered an important judgment in two appeals brought by a Mauritian company, Agiliss Limited, against earlier rulings of the Court’s First Instance Division. In the FID, Agiliss based both its references squarely and exclusively on provisions of the COMESA Treaty, especially its trade measures. This is significant because the courts of the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are not inundated with regional trade-related cases.
International Trade Explainer: Trade terms and concepts – A tralac guide
International trade has its own terminology. The following is a list of general trade terms as used in international trade agreements concluded by states and as applied in the legal instruments of international organisations dealing with trade between nations.
This list does not include terms used in private contracts concluded by importers, exporters, service providers and investors.
A thematic approach has been followed in preparing this list, which was updated in September 2023.
International Trade Agreements
Trade in Goods
Trade in Services
Regional Integration and Preferential Trade Arrangements
African Trade Arrangements
African economic integration and development initiatives
Terminology from other International Arrangements
International commercial and related terms
Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.
How to exhaust domestic remedies? The Agiliss cases before the COMESA Court of Justice
In this paper, we provide a discussion of the principles which apply when a regional court such as the COMESA Court of Justice (CCJ) has to decide whether the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies has been complied with or not. We mention the relevant judgments of the CCJ and emphasise the fact that article 26 of the COMESA Treaty forms part of a regional integration arrangement based on Community Law. We start by recalling how the exhaustion of domestic remedies has developed as part of Public International Law and how this concept has been refined over time. In regional integration arrangements, the right of legal persons to approach regional courts has become an essential feature of the relevant legal regimes.
We argue that the requirement that legal persons must exhaust domestic remedies before they have access to regional courts, must be looked at holistically and in the context of the nature of the legal arrangement in which it appears. In the present instance, this requirement should be interpreted in view of the fact that it forms part of an inter-state regime established for the purpose of deepening economic integration among the Member States through adherence to specific legal obligations and procedures. These obligations appear in the legal instruments concluded by sovereign states. They must respect their obligations, including those adopted for the purpose of granting private parties’ effective access to the relevant regional court in order to protect rights, procedures and rules-based practices recognised in the applicable treaty. When the regional arrangement in question is based on Community Law, as COMESA is, the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies is about more than a mere procedural or jurisdictional prerequisite.
Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of