Who we are

Director

Rebecca Perlman

Rebecca Perlman

Rebecca Perlman is the Director of the African Commercial Law Foundation. She is a London-based corporate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), specialising in venture capital, responsible investment and philanthropy. She advises governments, impact investors, social businesses and not-for-profits across a broad range of corporate, commercial and charity law issues, with a strong focus on emerging markets, including across the African continent.

Rebecca co-chairs the firm’s global impact investment and social finance practice, HSF Impact, and leads the transactional and advisory side of the firm’s pro bono practice.

Rebecca has spent time on secondment to the National Council of Civil Liberties and to the Government of Sierra Leone through HSF’s award-winning Fair Deal Sierra Leone pro bono initiative. She continues to advise the Sierra Leonean Government on a pro bono basis across a wide range of matters, focussing on capacity building in relation to foreign direct investment.

Rebecca was awarded the City of London Law Society Wig & Pen Prize in 2015 for her work in Sierra Leone and led the HSF team that won the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Award in 2016.


Advisory Board

Lise Bosman

Lise Bosman

Lise Bosman is a South African/Dutch arbitration specialist based at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands. She is Senior Legal Counsel to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Executive Director of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Lise is also a Fellow of the Association of Arbitrators (Southern Africa) and serves on the Editorial Board of the Dutch Arbitration journal (Tijdschrift voor Arbitrage). She is Acting General Editor of ICCA’s International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration, Series Editor of the PCA Award Series, and the General Editor and contributing author of “Arbitration in Africa: a Practitioner’s Guide” (Kluwer 2013)


Richard Dowden

Richard Dowden

Richard first worked in Africa as a volunteer teacher at a rural school in Uganda in the early 1970s. On his return he worked for a peace organisation in Northern Ireland and then became a journalist, joining The Times foreign desk in 1980. He reported from the Middle East and Africa, before being appointed Africa Editor at The Independent when it was founded in 1986. In November 2002 he became Director of the Royal African Society which publishes African Affairs, Britain’s leading academic journal on Africa and holds conferences, seminars and other meetings on Africa.
Richard is on the board of the Nation Media Group in East Africa and the Mvule Trust, an education project in Uganda. He also continues to write on African issues and lectures frequently, frequently appearing as a commentator on African affairs on the BBC, CNN, Sky News and other broadcast media. Richard Dowden’s book, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles was published in 2008 and updated with an extra chapter in 2015.


The Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs D.B.E., BSc, LLM, PhD.

The Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs D.B.E., BSc, LLM, PhD.

Following a successful career at the UK Bar, in October 2004, Dame Linda became the first non-white high court judge in the UK. At the Bar she was a member of, and chaired, a number of different committees, including the Race Relations, Professional Conduct and Professional Standards Committees. Whilst on the Bench she was the Senior Liaison Judge for Diversity, Chair of the Magisterial Committee of the Judicial Studies Board and Chair of the International Committee of the Judicial College. Dame Linda is a contributing and consultant editor to a number of legal publications and has been involved in the training of lawyers and judges both in the UK and internationally for over 20 years. She holds 5 honorary doctorates; she is a Fellow of the Judicial College; was a member of the Court of Governors at the London School of Economics for nine years, where she was the first chair of its Ethics Policy Committee. She is President of International Lawyers for Africa and Chair of the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network. She is a patron of a number of charities including two in Sierra Leone and two in South Africa and sits on a number of advisory councils. In 2013 Dame Linda stepped down from the Bench to pursue her various interests, including training of judges and lawyers internationally, in particular, in the Caribbean and Africa, commercial mediation, and working with the charities with which she is associated.


Harry Matovu QC

Harry Matovu QC

Harry Matovu is a Silk with a wide-ranging commercial practice and considerable experience of general commercial claims, including civil fraud, banking and finance, insurance and reinsurance law, oil and gas and public international law and public inquiries.  He has been instructed in a number of very high-profile cases over the years, including the Lloyd’s Litigation in the 1990s; the MMR Vaccine Litigation; litigation arising out of an attempted coup in 2004 against the Government of Equatorial Guinea. In addition, Harry’s cases have included major litigation and arbitrations in England and Bermuda, including several arbitrations arising out of the US personal accident spiral, and international disputes involving political risk, energy risks, aviation insurance, construction all risks business, professional indemnity insurance, bankers’ blanket bond, credit insurance and US casualty business. His practice involves cases in the civil courts in England and Wales from the Supreme Court downwards, including the Commercial Court and the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Division of the High Court. He also sits as an arbitrator and is regularly instructed in major international and domestic commercial arbitrations.


John Miles

John Miles

John is Director of JMiles & Co., a legal service entity based in Nairobi and established in 2012. John an English qualified lawyer worked in London for 30 years before moving to Africa to Chair ALN (a network of leading law firms in key African jurisdictions) for 6 years. John specialises in international arbitration and his work has been largely in the Infrastructure and Energy and Natural Resources sectors. He has worked in some 26 African countries, both for governments and private investors. John ran law firms (regional offices) in Cairo and Beijing and was a director and general counsel of an Australian ASX listed mining company. He is currently the ICC FraudNet member for Kenya and Chairman of the Indian National Bar Association (Kenya Chapter).


Dr Tunde Ogowewo

Dr Tunde Ogowewo

Tunde is Senior Member of Faculty, King’s College London, a former Global Hauser Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and Visiting Professor of Law, National University of Singapore. He has edited several highly acclaimed international academic journals and is the author of several academic works. for African Studies. He is also Advisory Board member of the African Commercial Law Foundation and the Africa International Legal Awareness. He has advised the UK Government as a member of the Roundtable of Expert Stakeholders by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on aspects of Takeover Regulation, and the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Establishment of the National Consumer Credit Regulatory Commission. He was appointed as Co-Chairman by the US State Department of Commerce to lead a project to develop a Model Law on Foreign Investment in Africa. Tunde holds advanced degrees, including a doctorate, from the London School of Economics and Political Science and King’s College London. He is a Barrister (Middle Temple) and Barrister and Solicitor (Nigeria). He serves as international arbitrator and has been nominated by the ICC Paris, foreign governments and international companies.


Dr Richard Frimpong Oppong

Dr Richard Frimpong Oppong

Richard is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University, Canada. He was educated at the University of Ghana, Ghana School of Law, University of Cambridge, Harvard Law School, University of British Columbia, and Dalhousie University where he was a Killam Post-doctoral Research Fellow. His principal research interests are in private international law, regional economic integration and international dispute settlement with a special focus on Africa. He has published widely (including three books and over 35 articles, book chapters and book reviews) on these subjects. He has worked with leading international organisations and academic institutions such as the Hague Conference on Private international Law and the Hague Academy of International. Richard was a member of the Working Group of the Hague Conference on Private International Law that developed the Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts 2015. He is often consulted by law firms and recently served as legal counsel in a multi-million dollar ICC arbitration involving a government and an investor. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the highly regarded Yearbook of Private International Law, and an elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law.



Trustees

Bridget Messer (Chair)

Bridget Messer (Chair)

Bridget Messer is Chair of the African Commercial Law Foundation and brings 10 years of international commercial experience to the Foundation. She currently works as Chief Commercial Officer of IG, a FTSE 250 online trading company headquartered in the UK with offices around the world including in South Africa. Prior to her current role, she headed up the legal, compliance and company secretarial function for IG. Prior to IG, Bridget worked as a solicitor for Deutsche Bank, and before that worked as a solicitor in Australia, specialising in financial services law.


Professor Christopher Forsyth

Professor Christopher Forsyth

Christopher Forsyth holds the chair of Public Law and Private International Law at the University of Cambridge. He is the author with the late Sir William Wade, QC of Administrative Law (11th ed, 2014) a standard work on the subject cited regularly by courts and counsel through the common law world. He is the author or editor of more than nine other books on different aspects of public law and private international law as well as about 100 journal articles. His books include Private International Law – the Modern Roman-Dutch Law including the Jurisdiction of the High Courts (5th ed., 2013) which is an authoritative work on the subject in Roman-Dutch jurisdictions.He has being involved in training senior civil servants in the principles of Administrative Law in several jurisdictions particularly in Malawi. He co-authored with the then Solicitor General of Malawi, the Hon. Steve Matenje, A Manual of Administrative Law for Malawi: A Guide for Ministers and Public Servants ‘(Government Printer, Zomba 2002)”.


Richard Gordon QC

Richard Gordon QC

Richard Gordon is widely recognised as one of the leading silks in Administrative and Public Law, Constitutional Law, EU Law and Human Rights/Civil Liberties and has appeared in many landmark cases in these fields. He is a Trustee of the International Senior Lawyers’ Project which is an international charity promoting the rule of law throughout (amongst other continents) Africa. His practice includes much international comparative work and he has advised on a number of international jurisdictional disputes including in Africa. Richard is a Visiting Professor in Law at University College London as well as being an Honorary Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University. He has also held temporary academic positions at the Universities of Auckland, Melbourne and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Constitution Society UK. Richard has written numerous books and articles on Constitutional and Administrative and Human Rights law.


Nat le Roux

Nat le Roux

Nat Le Roux spent most of his career in financial markets and was chief Executive of IG Group plc between 2002 and 2006. He is chairman of Scotgold Resources and an independent director of the London Metal Exchange. Nat is a director of The Constitution Society, which he co-founded in 2009.


Glen Davies QC

Glen Davis QC

Glen Davis QC is an English commercial barrister specialising in insolvency, finance and financial services. He has appeared in the Courts of Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, sits as an arbitrator and is a Senior Decision Maker for the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. He has a long-standing interest in the development of commercial law across Africa.