The Mandate of the Court is to ensure the observance of law and of the principles of equity in the interpretation and application of the provisions of the Revised Treaty and all other subsidiary legal instruments adopted by Community.


Contentious Jurisdiction

  • The Court examines cases of failure by Member States to honour their obligations under the Community law;
  • The Court has competence to adjudicate on any dispute relating to the interpretation and application of acts of the Community;
  • The Court adjudicates in disputes between Institutions of the Community and their officials;
  • The Court has power to handle cases dealing with liability for or against the Community;
  • The Court has jurisdiction to determine cases of violation of human rights that occur in any Member State;
  • The Court adjudges and makes declarations on the legality of Regulations, Directives, Decisions, and other subsidiary legal instruments adopted by ECOWAS.


The advisory competence is in the tradition of international courts attached to an international organization. It is under Article 10 of the 1991 Protocol of the Court whereby the Court may “issuie on advisory capacity, a legal opinion on matters that require interpretation of the provisions of the Treaty”. It allows the Court to play an important role in the prevention of conflicts or disputes and to interpret the provisions of the Treaty.


Based on the provision of Article 9(5) of the Supplementary Protocol of the Court, the Court has been vested with the mandate to act as Arbitrator pending the establishment of the Arbitration Tribunal for the Community. The Draft Arbitration Rules has been submitted to the Council of Ministers for its consideration and approval. It is expected that the actualization of this mandate will create the enabling legal environment for the achievement of ECOWAS Vision 2020.