Established national laws and a reliable judicial system are two features considered crucial by investors when seeking potential investment destinations. Investors often prioritize these factors to guarantee a profitable and risk-free investment. This also holds true for arbitration, as the 2015 Queen Mary International Arbitration Survey Respondents confirmed that the established formal legal infrastructure: the neutrality and impartiality of the legal system, the national arbitration law, and its track record for enforcing agreements to arbitrate and arbitral awards; plays a vital role in the selection of an arbitral seat. For more than thirty years, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1988 Chapter A.18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (ACA) was Nigeria’s primary legislation governing arbitration. However, new legislation was required to address the complexities and evolving needs of arbitration in the country and align Nigeria’s arbitration practices with international standards. On 26th May 2023, the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 (AMA) was signed into law by the President of Nigeria, signifying a significant milestone for arbitration and mediation proceedings in Nigeria.
This blog reviews the AMA by focusing on the innovative developments and their importance to the attractiveness of arbitration in Nigeria. Some praiseworthy innovations in the AMA include new provisions on (a) mediation and enforcement of international settlement agreements; (b) recognition and enforcement of interim measures issued by arbitral tribunals, (c) award review tribunal, (d) consolidation of arbitrations and joinder of parties, and (e) third-party funding. Other provisions relate to emergency arbitration, the limitation period for enforcement of an award, and the definition of an arbitration agreement.