Staff profile

Professor Chrispas Nyombi

Professor of International Commercial Law

Chrispas Nyombi speaking at an event




College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Derby Law School

Research centre

Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre




Kedleston Road and One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I joined the University of Derby in October 2021. I am currently the REF Lead (Unit 18 - Law) and Co-Head of the Centre for Justice, Law and Society (with Professor Hakeem Yusuf).

Before joining the University of Derby, I was a Reader in International Commercial Law, Director of Research and Co-REF Lead (UoA18 - Law) at Canterbury Christ Church University. I have taught at several other Universities, including visiting professorships at Makerere University, Uganda (2018-) and the University of Juba, South Sudan (2022-).

I am a member of the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Panels of Arbitrators (designated 2023-2029) following nomination by the Government of the Republic of Uganda and a Member of Uganda’s delegation to the East African Community (EAC) that negotiated the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Investment Protocol. I am also an External REF Reviewer for De Montfort University.

My senior strategic leadership and management experience is equally significant and longstanding. I have held a number of senior strategic roles including Member of the Faculty/College Senior Management Team, Member of the Faculty/College and University Research Committees, Director of Research, Centre Head/Director, Acting Head of School, Programme Director, Portfolio Leader etc.

Teaching responsibilities

I have led academic teams through curriculum reviews and the successful development and validation of innovative market-informed programmes. I have also led undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including:

Professional interests

I am currently engaged in several high-impact research projects and policy initiatives under the Business, Economic and Social Policy research theme at the University of Derby.

For example, in March 2022, following discussions with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba and Officials from the Office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan, I was appointed as a Visiting Professor in April 2022 at the University of Juba and tasked with leading a team of experts to support the development and implementation of programmes under a National Plan. Actions include leading work on the development of an Arbitration Law, a Model Bilateral Investment Treaty, and a Law Development Centre - law graduates in the country currently have to go to neighbouring countries for essential legal practice training. I was appointed due to the reputation created by my research and policy work in the East African region. 

Research interests

I am a generalist International Commercial Law academic with a specialist interest in the subfield of International Investment Law.  My publications include books, book chapters and peer-reviewed journal papers in both generalist legal journals and specialist investment law journals (see examples below) and edited collections, including on capacity building in African arbitration (in Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration; Kluwer Law International, 2018) and investment law reform (Rebalancing International Investment Agreements in Favour of Host States; Wildy Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2018).

I have published on topics such as the EAC and Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) investment policy and practice (Transnational Dispute Management, 2022; LCA Journal of Arbitration and Dispute Settlement, 2022), the Multilateral Investment Court (North Carolina Journal of International Law, 2018; Journal of Business Law, 2019), EU International Investment Policy (International Company and Commercial Law Review, 2016; International Arbitration Law Review, 2018), the legitimacy crisis in International Investment Law (International Arbitration Law Review, 2017; Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law, 2017) and Corporate and Insolvency Law reform (LawAfrica Publishers, 2014; Journal of Business Law, 2014).

At the core of my research is an exploration of the openness of governments and legal institutions in the developing world in responding to international commercial problems and accommodating reform. My research has been commissioned/funded by, among others, Government departments in the Republics of Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda.  

My research and policy engagements have had national and regional impact. My research has informed new national and international legislation. It led to the enactment of the Investment Code Act 2019 in Uganda with obligations for companies, representing a significant shift in the prioritisation of commercial interests. My engagements informed the inclusion of several provisions in the Ugandan Human Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Act 2021 aimed at regulating the conduct of public and private sector organisations to avoid organ trafficking and commercialisation of organ donation and tissue transplantation. I was appointed by the Uganda Ministry of East African Community Affairs as part of a team of experts to negotiate and draft the EAC Investment Policy and Strategy 2019-2024.

The impact created by my research has gone beyond national, regional and continental borders, onto the United Nations, including an invitation by the Secretary General of UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) to contribute to high-level discussions on ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) reform.

I am currently supervising five PhD students at varying stages and welcome suitable research proposals. 

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

I have been invited to address distinguished audiences and deliver keynote addresses in over 30 countries around the world concerning all aspects of International Commercial Law, primarily investor-state arbitration, a subject of immense concern, given the growing number of ICSID cases, particularly against developing countries. These engagements, particularly with the regional bodies and the United Nations, have resulted in significant policy developments.

20 selected conference invitations and keynote addresses

Invited Speaker, Paris Arbitration Week, “Dispute Resolution under the AfCFTA Agreement” Paris, France (March 2023).

Keynote Speaker, DRC Accession to the EAC- Trade and Investment opportunities, Ministry of Trade, Supply and Consumption, Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of Congo (December 2022).

Invited Speaker, 3rd AfAA Annual International Arbitration Conference & Awards Ceremony. Accra, Ghana. Start. Topic: The Africanisation of Investment Dispute Resolution under the AfCFTA. Accra, Ghana (November 2022).

Invited Speaker, UK-Uganda Health Alliance, Invitation by Lord Nigel Crisp to the UK House of Lords, Topic: Health-based investments in Uganda (October 2022).

Invited Speaker, Capacity building, Trade and Investment in the EAC. SOAS University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies), with the Deputy Vice President of Uganda (April 2022).

Keynote Address, Ministry of East African Community Affairs. Topic: Uganda’s position on the AFCFTA Investment Protocol. Kampala, Uganda (March 2022).

Keynote Address: Free Zones Authority. Topic: EAC Trade and Investment Policy Reform. Kampala, Uganda (February 23 2022).

Invited Speaker Uganda Investment Authority. Topic: Uganda’s BIT Program: Towards a new generation of IIAs. Kampala, Uganda (December 2021).

Trainer (with Prof. Emilia Onyema) 29th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Topic: Africa in the Moot. AFAS, London, United Kingdom (October 2021).

Invited Speaker, World Arbitration Update (Inaugural- First Edition). Topic: Influencing the Future of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement System through the Investment Chapter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Washington D.C, USA (October 2021).

Invited Speaker, International Law Summits (ILS), Conference: Energy Arbitration in the Middle East and Africa, Herbert Smith Freehills, London, UK (February 2021).

Keynote Speaker (September 2021) AFAS Conversations. Topic: Africa and Research in Dispute Resolution, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom.

Invited Speaker, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Regional Meeting representing the IGAD and EAC, Conakry, Guinea (September 2019).

Invited Speaker, SOAS Arbitration in Africa Conference: The Role of Arbitration Practitioners in supporting the Development of Arbitration in Africa, Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), Kigali, Rwanda (May 2018).

Invite Speaker, SOAS Arbitration in Africa Conference: Creating a Sustainable Culture of Arbitration in Africa, Arusha Conference Centre, Tanzania (February 2019).

Keynote Speaker, Realising the East African Federation: The Social-Economic Hurdles, Uganda Investment Authority Kampala, Uganda (July 2018).

Invited Speaker, Reforms at regional and continental level, AILA, Lagos Court of Arbitration, Lagos, Nigeria (October 2017).

Invited Speaker, SOAS Arbitration in Africa Conference, Topic: A case for a regional investment court for Africa, Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) Cairo, Egypt (April 2017).

Keynote Speaker, Double Taxation Treaties, School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (January 2016).

Keynote Speaker, The Companies Act 2012: The good, the bad and the ugly, Uganda Law Reform Commission, Kampala, Uganda (February 2014).

Experience in industry


Taylor Wessing (Global Law Firm) - March 2023-present 

I was appointed by a leading London-based International Law firm.

Uganda Parliamentary Committee on Health - 2018-2021

The Chair of the Uganda Parliamentary Committee on Health, Dr (Hon) Charles Ayume sought my expertise when drafting the Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill. The Act outlaws organ and tissue trafficking.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) 2019

High-level discussions on ISDS Reform (Guinea, Conakry).

Uganda Ministry of East African Affairs and EAC Secretariat - 2019-2022

AfCFTA Investment Protocol negotiations on behalf of the Republic of Uganda.

International experience

Due to my research expertise, I have been consulted by national, regional and international organisations, including the United Nations, on international investment law policy, practice and reform.

Indicatively, in 2019, I led the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) - comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda - delegation at the regional meeting on ISDS reform organised by the UNCITRAL with senior government officials from 33 African States including delegations from other regions and relevant stakeholders such as the European Union present. This resulted in new international investment policy initiatives led by UNCITRAL Working Group III.

Since 2019, I have been a member of the EAC Panel of External Experts advising the EAC Secretariat and the EAC Partner States -comprising the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda - on the investment and trade-related implications of the AfCFTA Agreement.

And, since October 2014, I have served on the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC) advising the Ugandan Government on the consequences of newly negotiated Free Trade Agreements, and providing research, capacity-building support and intensive training to more than 100 government officials, and legislative drafting assistance with the Investment Act 2019 and the Human Organ Donation and Transplant Act 2021.

National, regional and continental laws and policies I have directly contributed to negotiating and/or drafting:





Additional interests and activities

Chair of the Arbitration Fund for African Students: 2019-present

At the 2018 SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference held in Kigali, the young practitioners in attendance identified the unaffordability of arbitration conference attendance for themselves and African students as a hindrance to their career development. This led to a discussion on how best to support young practitioners and students to participate in arbitration-related moots and conferences.

After the Kigali conference, myself (University of Derby), Professor Emilia Onyema (SOAS University of London) and other academics/practitioners joined in creating a fund to meet this need. This led to the birth of the Arbitration Fund for African Students (AFAS), which was launched on 14 February 2019 at the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference held in Arusha.

AFAS is a registered Charity under the Charities Act 2011 with Charity Number 1185823 – Charity Constitution. The Charity has sponsored a number of young students and practitioners from around the world to attend arbitration moots and conferences and expanded further into the provision of early career mentoring initiatives. In the past two years, AFAS has significantly increased its reach and impact. 

Model Bilateral Investment Treaty for African States (2022)

In December 2021, I was part of a Technical Review Committee constituted by the African Arbitration Academy (AAA), comprising some of the leading International Lawyers (academics and practitioners) in the world, with the goal of developing a model treaty that would be used by African states when negotiating future investment agreements. This monumental treaty was published in July 2022, and it has already been utilised by the African Union in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations. You can download the English version of the AAA Model BIT from the AAA website

AAA Model BIT has been shortlisted for the prestigious GAR Awards 2023. This is a record-breaking feat – with the Model BIT having the highest number of nominations this year and the first initiative from Africa to be shortlisted for three awards.

  1. Best Development
  2. Best Innovation
  3. Campaign for Greener Arbitration Award for sustainable behaviour

The AAA Model BIT also won the 2022 AfAA Award for Innovation.

Recent publications

20 selected publications

Chrispas Nyombi, “International Investment Policy and Practice of the Republic of Burundi” Brill, 2023 (forthcoming). Commissioned by the Government of the Republic of Burundi.

Chrispas Nyombi, “Realising the East African Community's Development Vision Through Progressive Private Sector Development Policies” Transnational Dispute Management, 3, 2022.

Chrispas Nyombi, “The Africanisation of Investment Dispute Resolution under the AfCFTA Agreement” LCA Journal of Arbitration and Dispute Settlement, 1, 2022.

Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “The International Investment Agreements of the IGAD Member States” (Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2019). ISBN 9780854902613.

Chrispas Nyombi, “Towards a New World Economic Order: Proposal for a Pan-African Investment Court” in Emilia Onyema “Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration” (Kluwer Law International, 2018). ISBN: 9789041190420.

Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “Rebalancing International Investment Agreements in favour of host states: Towards a World Investment Court” (2018) Journal of Business Law 3, pp. 200-222.

Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “The turf war between the European Commission and Intra-EU BITs: Is an end in sight?” (2018) International Arbitration Law Review, Vol 21(3), pp. 66-79.

Chrispas Nyombi, “A case for a Regional Investment Court for Africa” (2018) North Carolina Journal of International Law, Vol 43(1) pp. 67-96. Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “Rights and Obligations in the post investment treaty denunciation period” (2018) International Arbitration Law Review Vol 21(2) pp. 46-53

Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “Takeover regulation in the UK and Shareholder Primacy: What, why and how to reform?” (2018) International Trade Law & Regulation Vol 24(2) pp. 62-80

Chrispas Nyombi, Tom Mortimer & Narissa Ramsundar, “The Morocco-Nigeria BIT: Towards a new generation of intra-African BITs” (2017) International Company and Commercial Law Review, Vol 27, Iss 11 (Sweet & Maxwell, Special Issue).

Chrispas Nyombi, “UK Takeover Law & The Board Neutrality Rule” (Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2017) ISBN: 9780854902293.

Chrispas Nyombi & Tom Mortimer, “Tackling the legitimacy crisis in international investment law through progressive treaty-making practices” (2017) International Arbitration Law Review, Iss 5. 162-174.

Chrispas Nyombi, “Tactical litigation in the post-Recast Brussels Regulation era” (2017) European Competition Law Review, 38(10), 457-469.

Chrispas Nyombi & Konstantinos Saliafis, “Rationalising the Defences to Enforcement under the New York Convention” (2017) Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law, Vol 17(1) 110-129.

Chrispas Nyombi “EU Reform of International Investment Law in the Shadow of Brexit” (2016) International Company and Commercial Law Review 27(12), 395-403 (Sweet & Maxwell).

Chrispas Nyombi, Tom Mortimer, Georgios Zouridakis & Rhidian Lewis, “Shareholder Primacy and Stakeholders’ Interests in the Aftermath of a Takeover: A Review of Empirical Evidence” (2015) International Business Law Journal Iss 2, pp. 161-186 (Sweet & Maxwell).

Chrispas Nyombi, Alexander Kibandama & David Justin Bakibinga, “The Motivations Behind the Uganda Insolvency Act 2011” (2014) Journal of Business Law, 8, pp.651-666. One of the leading journals in the field of Commercial Law.

Chrispas Nyombi and David Justin Bakibinga, “Corporate Personality: The Unjust Foundation of English Company Law” (2014). Kluwer, International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations 65(2), pp. 94-103.

Chrispas Nyombi, “Employees’ rights during insolvency” (2013) International Journal of Law and Management, 55(6), pp.417-428.

Chrispas Nyombi & Alexander Kibandama, “Principles of Company Law in Uganda” (LawAfrica Publishers, Nairobi, Kenya, 2014). ISBN: 9966530134.