1LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION /ADR IN NIGERIA BYADEDOYIN OYINKAN RHODES-VIVOUR (MRS.) FCIARBCHARTERED ARBITRATOR, CEDR [UK] ACCREDITED MEDIATORMANAGING PARTNERDOYIN RHODES-VIVOUR & CO.9, SIMEON AKINLONU CRESCENTONIRU PRIVATE ESTATEVICTORIA ISLAND EXTENSIONLAGOS – NIGERIA.
2LEGAL FRAMEWORK [INTERNATIONAL] United Nations Commission on International Trade Law [UNCITRAL Model Law [1985; Revised 2006].UNCITRAL Arbitration/Conciliation Rules.New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958.National courts are required to recognize and enforce foreign awards save in a few instances.Maritime ConventionsHague RulesHague/Visby RulesHamburg RulesMulti-Modal Convention 1980Rotterdam Rules
3LEGAL FRAMEWORK [DOMESTIC] Arbitration and Conciliation Act Cap A18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.Domesticated the New York Convention which was ratified by Nigeria on the 17th day of March 1970.State Arbitration Laws.Lagos State Arbitration LawImportance of the laws of the place of arbitration/seat of the arbitrationArbitration proceedings are subject to the mandatory provisions of the law of the place of the seat.
4NATIONAL MARITIME LEGISLATION/ADR Admiralty Jurisdiction ActEffect of section 20MV Panormous Bay“It is the contention of the respondent that the clause inserted in the bills of lading were done without any consultation whatsoever with the respondent or its predecessor in title as it is a standard form contract usually lopsided in favour of the carriers, which was not bona fide, as its sole aim is to frustrate legitimate claims having underserved jurisdictional advantage. I am quite satisfied that the learned trial judge, apart from the fact that he has given due consideration to S.5[b] of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, he has also considered the legality, genuineness and reasonableness of the arbitration clause contained in the bills of lading”. The Hon. Justice Galadima [JSC] – M.V Parnomous Bay V. Olam (Nig) Plc“Section 20 of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act has altered the hitherto existing position in admiralty matters thereby modifying section 2 and 4 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and limited enforceable arbitration agreement to those having Nigeria as their forum.
5MV LupexArbitration agreement does not oust the court’s jurisdiction but is an agreement of the parties which must be enforced.Duty on court to enforce arbitration agreements was reiterated.Federal High Court ActSection 17Federal High Court RulesOrder 52 Rules 2, 8, 9, 13, 16 and 17
6ARBITRATION AND THE NIGERIAN COURTS Section 1(2) of the Evidence Act states that the provisions of the Evidence Act shall not apply to arbitral proceedings.Rules of Court do not apply to arbitral proceedings.Ras Pal Gazi Construction Company Ltd V FCDA NWLR part 722 pg 559 at 572 paras D – F, The Supreme Court of Nigeria declared that an Award is at par with a judgement of the court has the same force and effect and cannot be tampered with except as provided in the Act.Courts not to interfere except as provided by the lawSection 34 Federal ActSection 59 Lagos LawApplications to the Court (Arbitration Procedure Rules)
7POWERS OF THE COURT IN RELATION TO ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS ROLE PRIOR TO CONSTITUTION OF ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL / COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGSSection 2 ACA – arbitration agreement irrevocable except by agreement / leave of courtSections 4 & 5 ACA – Stay of proceedingsSection 7 – Appointment & challenge of arbitratorsCOURT’S ROLE DURING THE PROCEEDINGSSection 23 of ACA – issuance of writs of subpoena / habeas corpusSection 13 / Article 26 – Interim measure of protectionPOST AWARD ROLE OF THE COURTSSection 29 of ACA – Settling aside of awardSection 30(2) – Misconduct of arbitratorSection 31(1)and 32 – Recognition and enforcement of awardsSection 48 , 51 and 52– Other factors necessitating the setting aside of an award under international commercial arbitration.
8NEW PROVISIONS OF THE LAGOS STATE ARBITRATION LAW Form of Arbitration AgreementSections 3  and of the Lagos State Arbitration LawInterim Measures / Preliminary OrdersSection 21 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 21 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 25 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 26 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 27 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 28 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 29 and  of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSpecific Powers of the Arbitral Tribunal on RemediesSection 38 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 38 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawAppointment of UmpireSection 9 [a] and [b] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSee section 9 [a-d] of the State Arbitration LawSection 9[a] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 9[b] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 9[c] of the Lagos State Arbitration Law
9Consequence of Resignation of an Arbitrator. Section 14[a] and [b] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 14[a] and [b] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawImmunity of ArbitratorsSection 18 and  of the Lagos State Arbitration LawApplicable Arbitration RulesSection 31 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawApplicability of Limitation LawsSection 35 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawConsolidation, Concurrent Hearing and Joinder of PartiesSection 40[a][b] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 40 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 40 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawInterestSection 46 of the Lagos State Arbitration LawNotification of Award / Arbitrator’s Lien on AwardSection 49  of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 49  of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 49  [a] [b] [c] of the Lagos State Arbitration LawSection 49  of the Lagos State Arbitration Law
10JURISPRUDENCE OF NIGERIAN COURTS Owners of M. V Lupex vs. Nigeria Overseas Chartering and Shipping Ltd  15NWLR Part 844 at 469Duty on court to ensure observance of arbitral clause“ So long as an arbitration clause is retained in a contract that is valid and the dispute is within the contemplation of the clause, the court ought to give due regard to the voluntary contract of the parties by enforcing the arbitration clause as agreed by them”.The court should not been seen to encourage the breach of a valid arbitration agreement particularly if it has international flavour – relying on the words of Ehpraim Akpata JSC [Rtd] “The Nigerian Arbitration Law”
11ANTI SUIT INJUNCTIONSRemedy available in domestic (local) courts to prevent proceedings started or continuing in other jurisdictionsLocal courts determines that it is the proper jurisdiction to hear suitEffect on arbitration – bars or ignores arbitration in foreign jurisdiction. Justice Schwebel former court of international court of Justice stated thus:“When a domestic court acts, it acts as an organ of the State for whose actions that the State is internationally responsible. When a domestic court issues an anti-suit injunction blocking the international arbitration agreed to in a contract, that court fails to refer the parties to arbitration…” In substance it fails anticipatorily to “recognise arbitral awards as binding and enforce them…” This is room to conclude that an anti-suit injunction is inconsistent with the New York Convention…….”
12MEDIATION AND THE COURTS Nigerian legal system has always recognized the compatibility of ADR with the court system.Section 24 High Court Laws“In any action in the High Court the courts may promote reconciliation among the parties thereto and encourage and facilitate the amicable settlement thereof”.
13MEDIATION AND THE GOVERNMENT Citizen Mediation CentresEstablished under relevant State lawsProvision of free alternative dispute resolution services to indigent members of the public.
14COURT CONNECTED ADR Lagos, Kano and Abuja Multidoor Courthouses Mode of ReferalPractice DirectionsThe Presiding Judge ordering and or referring an on-going case to the LMDC.The Director of the LMDC or the ADR or the ADR Judge inviting disputing parties to a meeting to explore options towards an amicable resolution of their dispute.Any of the parties to an agreement stipulating mediation, arbitration or any other ADR process in the resolution of their dispute.Any of the parties, their counsel or any designated officer of the court at any time prior to or after the filing or commencement of an action in the court.Anyone with interest in a dispute and or belief that the LMDC could be beneficial to an on-going dispute or the parties.
15SOME ARBITRAL/ADR INSTITUTIONS / FACILITIES IN NIGERIA Lagos Regional Centre for International Commercial ArbitrationLagos Court of ArbitrationChartered Institute of Arbitrators, London [Nigeria Branch]Maritime Arbitrators Association of NigeriaInstitute of Chartered Mediators of NigeriaLagos Multi-door Courthouse
16CONCLUSIONNigeria has an up to date legal framework for the conduct of arbitration. The Federal Act is the modification of the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law. The Lagos Law No. 10 incorporates the recent 2006 amendments to the Model Law. Nigeria has domesticated the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Nigerian courts understand the nature of arbitration agreements and its binding nature. Facilities exist in Nigeria for the conduct of arbitration. Nigeria has a crop of highly trained arbitrators and alternative dispute resolvers.Presently most maritime arbitration involving Nigerian parties or with close connection to Nigeria are conducted outside Nigerian shores. Often times Nigerian consignees believe that they are being put to great cost and expenses particularly as these disputes may be arbitrated in Nigeria. Arbitration is meant to be cost effective. Encouraging the development of other regions apart from the traditional ones can only enhance the cost effectiveness of the process. Concerted efforts and co-operation need to be made to promote arbitration/ADR centres within different geographical regions. However all countries of the region must ensure suitable legal framework, capacity in the field, support of the judiciary and conducive infrastructure in their bid for recognition as places of international arbitration.