Thompson Rivers University

First professor-student co-authored article wins prize for TRU Law

March 6, 2014

Lisa Niro — Faculty of Law student

JD candidate Lisa Niro, article co-author.

Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong and JD candidate Lisa Niro of TRU’s Faculty of Law have won the James Crawford Prize for the best paper of the year submitted to the Journal of International Dispute Settlement, a leading peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford University Press. This is the first professor-student co-authored and published article by the Faculty of Law.

“To have our work recognized at an international level by such a prestigious award is very exciting,” says Niro, who will be among TRU Law’s first graduating class of 2014. “The issue we have been researching is relatively unexplored and commented on in international law, so to become well versed in this area and then be recognized through the James Crawford Prize for our discussion and commentary on the topic is an honour.”

Oppong and Niro’s article, “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts”, examines the ability of national courts to enforce the judgments of international courts in cases of litigation by individuals. Drawing on a recent Constitutional Court of South Africa decision and comparisons with other jurisdictions, they reveal the challenges of enforcement and possible solutions, and bring attention to an emerging issue in international law.

In the citation the James Crawford Prize Committee observed that the article “tackles a major problem of long-term interest, made significant contributions to that problem, and is written in a lucid and convincing manner”. The Committee further described the article as of ‘’exceptional quality’’.

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Oppong, an expert on private international law and one of the founding faculty, holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant to research the extent to which the lack of effective enforcement mechanisms for international judgments undermines individual rights to international justice, and examine the extent to which national courts may be important sites to overcome this challenge.

“The article is a significant output from research undertaken with the SSHRC grant,” says Oppong. “I intend to draw on aspects of the article for a book dealing with the enforcement of judgments of international courts in national courts.” A contract for the book, which will be published in 2015, has been signed with Brill Nijhoff, the leading international law publisher based in the Netherlands.

“It has been such a rewarding opportunity to work with Richard over the past two years,” adds Niro, who has been Oppong’s research assistant since the outset of the project in the summer of 2012. “Not only has it enriched my law school experience and taught me a lot about a very interesting and unique area of the law, but it has also allowed me to expand my legal horizons and travel overseas to speak at conferences and attend the Hague Academy of International Law.”

The James Crawford Prize recognizes the best paper received and accepted for publication in the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. The article will be published in the second issue of the 2014 volume of the Journal. The Prize comes with an award of £500 of Oxford University Press books and a one-year online subscription to the Journal.

Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong, TRU Faculty of Law

For more information:
Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong, Law Professor
TRU Faculty of Law
Thompson Rivers University
T: 250-852-7696