HazloLaw Meets with Mrs. Eda Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister of Somaliland and Women’s Rights Advocate

On September 5th, 2019, leading Somaliland women’s rights activist and former Foreign Minister Edna Adan Ismail attended at the offices of HazloLaw – Business Lawyers where she met with Martin Aquilina in order to discuss a potential action plan that would aid Somaliland in its quest for recognition of its sovereignty.

Ms. Ismail is one of the most prominent public figures of Somaliland: she manages a hospital that she founded, the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, campaigns against female genital mutilation, and more recently, she pursues the sustained lobbying effort for Somaliland’s recognition by the international community.

HazloLaw Canadas Leading Business Law Firm To Lobby For Somaliland Recognition
Former First Lady and Foreign Minister of Somaliland, Edna Adan Ismail (second from the left) met with Martin Aquilina, lawyer and chief operating officer, HazloLaw (first from the left) accompanied Ms. Loula Isman, Canadian representative for Somaliland (second from the right) at the offices of HazloLaw, Ottawa, Canada

What is Somaliland?

After having been a British protectorate for 73 years, Somaliland gained its independence from Great Britain on June 26th, 1960, and enacted the first Constitution of the Independent State of Somaliland. The day after independence, the Somaliland legislature passed the Union of Somaliland and Somalia Law (Law of Union), which was to be signed by the authorized representatives of both the peoples of Somaliland and of Somalia, then an Italian colony.

Although the former signed the treaty, the legislative assembly of Somalia approved “in principle” a different treaty, referred to as the Atto di Unioni or the Act of Union. Following this, members of Somaliland and Somalia’s Legislative Assemblies met in a joint session during which the Constitution drafted by Somalia was accepted by acclamation, without discussion.

On June 20th, 1961, a referendum was held on the new constitution, at which time the dissatisfaction of the peoples of Somaliland became very apparent. Of those who voted, a majority did so against the Union and many people abstained from voting to show their displeasure. Eight years later, a military coup from Somalia overthrew the civilian government and abolished the Somali Republic’s constitution. From 1969 to 1991, the military junta engaged in the systematic abuse of Somalilanders’ human rights, resulting in half a million people taking refuge in camps of surrounding regions and an estimated 100,000 casualties.

Once the military dictatorship was defeated by paramilitary groups, the people of Somaliland opted to restore their sovereignty and liberate themselves from Somalian hegemony. The Grand Burao Conference of 1991 took place and was attended by the traditional leaders of Somaliland, and a transitional government was appointed, subsequently reinstating the independence of Somaliland.

Today, Somaliland is one of the most stable countries in the horn of Africa while Somalia sits at the top of the list for failed states, according to the Fund for Peace’s Fragile State Index. It is generally acknowledged that Somaliland’s lack of international recognition is impeding international relief and development as well as foreign direct investment.

While the criteria to establish statehood are generally agreed upon as a matter of international law, achieving recognition is also a diplomatic endeavor.

HazloLaw would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Ismail and Ms. Loula Isman, Canadian representative for Somaliland for honoring our offices with their presence.


ABOUT HazloLaw


A reflection of our client’s objectives and needs, we practice Business Law with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. Hazlo means “do it” in Spanish.
Our clients are “do-ers” … achievers. And so are we.

Over the years, our Firm has been recognized with many awards, including the Ottawa’s Exceptional New Business Award and the Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in Ottawa for two consecutive years. We continue our expansion but remain true to our vision and foundational pillars. We strongly believe that this philosophy is the reason for our success and will continue to form the foundation of our future.

Located in Canada’s National Capital and in Toronto’s Financial District, our boutique law firm focuses in the areas of Business, Tax Litigation, and International Law. This allows us to focus our collective experience and knowledge to deliver exceptional service to our clients.


International law is a discipline that spans many different areas of the law, from diplomatic problems to those affecting the art world, from humanitarian aid to transnational business. Agreements and other legal documentation must be carefully drafted and customized to ensure that they are interpreted effectively across borders.

Further, an international contract needs a lawyer to review how it will be performed, such as deciding on the appropriate dispute mechanism, payment methods and overall risk mitigation. The multifaceted nature of international law requires counsel that is imaginative and flexible and that brings together a broad knowledge of commercial law, dispute resolution, and cultural awareness.

Our team at HazloLaw-Business Lawyers can facilitate your understanding and navigation of the world of global business and help you tackle all of your international challenges and opportunities.

The International Law Team Leader is Martin Aquilina


Whether you are faced with an adverse claim or contemplating taking legal action, a good business litigator will put your business objectives first. In most cases, deciding on whether and how to deal with a claim should be made only after careful cost-benefit analysis, weighing the costs and chances of success against the benefits conferred by victory.

When faced with an international dispute, however, the litigator’s job is more complex, as properly navigating such a dispute requires strong knowledge of a branch of law known as Private International Law, which addresses three main questions: which country has jurisdiction, whose set of laws applies, and will a foreign jurisdiction recognize a locally obtained judgment? It is common for international contracts to contain a clause that grants jurisdiction to the courts of the jurisdiction of one of the parties or of a neutral forum, Also, it is quite possible that the parties have agreed to use arbitration to settle their differences.

Often, either not much thought has gone into choice-of-law and choice-of-court clauses or they were imposed by the stronger party. Before embarking on potentially long and costly jurisdiction, it is therefore worthwhile assessing the true impact of their wording; for example, the jurisdiction conferred by a choice-of-court clause may not be exclusive, which would allow a party to take action locally notwithstanding an apparent stipulation to the contrary.

Whether you are a Canadian business or individual facing a claim by a foreign party or looking to bring a claim against a foreign party, or whether you are seeking counsel to support you with mediation or arbitration, HazloLaw – Business Lawyers can help.


While in most cases an oral contract will be valid, the proof of the existence and, especially, of the content of an oral agreement can be extremely difficult. By entering into a written contract, the parties facilitate the enforcement of its performance and provide certainty of its terms. They may also address many items that are not likely to be addressed unless a formal contract is entered into. This is of even greater importance when the parties are in different jurisdictions, where many more special considerations arise, such as choice of law and choice of jurisdiction.

While common wisdom is that you should seek to have your own laws apply, ensure that your own courts have jurisdiction or select arbitration as the mechanism of choice to resolve disputes, these assumptions are not valid in all cases. For example, your own laws may be preferable to those of your counterparty in some respects but not in others and reference to international instruments can offer neutral ground.

Moreover, reliance on a standard arbitration clause as a panacea to the question of courts is not a good idea. The arbitration may be safer and faster but not necessarily less expensive. A careful review of each party’s obligations, methods, and timing of payment, customs clearance, and delivery obligations, and exceptions to the performance of the contract is essential. At HazloLaw – Business Lawyers, we have experience in many jurisdictions as well as relationships in many others to obtain local assistance if needed.


We put our group’s talents to work for other lawyers while fully respecting their relationship with their clients. For example, we can provide you with our expertise on private international law matters, whether it is a question of determining how and where to best enforce a judgment or arbitral award or of which set of laws (including transnational instruments) and forum to select.

We also support foreign counsel on issues of Canadian law such as effecting contract reviews to ensure compliance with Canadian law, providing transactional opinions for Canadian parties, proffering advice on Canadian regulatory matters, and carrying out local due diligence. Our paralegals assist colleagues from around the world by obtaining official copies of personal certificates for probate or other purposes. Whatever the mandate, our familiarity with many legal systems enables us to translate Canadian legal concepts into analogous concepts of foreign law, and vice versa, thereby allowing foreign counsel to make better-informed decisions.

For more details visit the firm’s website

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