For the second time in less than a month, an international dispute with virtually no South African connection has ended up in a local court. The latest is an application brought in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) last week by Balkan Energy against the government of Ghana. A few years back Balkan won an international arbitration award against the government of Ghana for US$12m that Ghana has refused to pay.

Now Balkan has asked the court to approve attachment of 6.3m shares in AngloGold Ashanti Limited to satisfy the arbitral award.

As the judge in the case noted: ‘The only connection to the forum of the court in South Africa is the fact that (the government of Ghana) purportedly owns shares in a company (AngloGold Ashanti) whose registered office is situated within the jurisdiction of the court.’ The case follows an application last month for an order seizing a cargo of phosphate mined in Western Sahara, whose ownership was disputed.

Legal writer Carmel Rickard examines the background to the latest dispute in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site.

A Matter of Justice