In Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Process & Industrial Developments Limited (‘Nigeria v. P&ID’), the English court was faced with an application for extension of time to challenge an arbitration award delivered well over two years before the application. The court granted the application despite the delay, on the basis that there was a strong prima facie case of fraud involved. This paved the way for a thorough inquiry into the allegations of fraud, which if proven, would upset the validity and finality of the arbitration award. This article will review the judgment of the court in Nigeria v. P&ID and highlight its contribution to jurisprudence on determining the point at which an allegation of illegality will be allowed to threaten the finality of an award.
“Africa’s riches” include its law students, and Africa has the means to unleash that resource for its own benefit and the world’s. To close the circle and exhort the law students and young lawyers of Africa: seize the opportunities, face the challenges, and remember, Nelson Mandela’s words; I never lose. I either win or learn.
The present state of international economic law leaves much to be desired. Anchored by the multilateral General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which led to the creation of the World Trade Organization, and complemented by a vast network of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements, international economic law is drawn from diffuse sources. Additionally, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body and Appellate Body, which interpret the GATT provisions, and arbitral tribunals, which interpret investment protection agreement provisions, shape the content of international economic law. However, the patchwork of treaty text and dispute settlement rulings into a body of law is unraveling.
Drawing from comparative experiences, it is opined that a systematic academic study of private international law might create the required strong political will and institutional support (which is absent at the moment) that is necessary to give private international law its true place in Africa.
Access to justice for victims of business and human rights in the ISA will be an strong index to measure the realization of the sustainable development goal on access to justice. Goal 16 specifically provides that states should promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. Reforming the ISA to ensure equal access between states, investors, and local communities will be an important step in this direction.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is blessed with abundant energy resources both conventional and renewable. In Nigeria, crude oil exports account for about 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 80 percent of government revenue, thus making the country’s economy heavily reliant on oil revenue. However, global economies of both developed and developing countries are now embarking on transitions to sustainable low carbon economy. Given the move towards sources of renewable energy, this has adversely affected oil revenue, consequently, it is very important that Nigeria diversify its economy.
African countries can, and should facilitate, access to international arbitration by their citizens whose interests are harmed by foreign investors by procuring investors’ consent to such arbitration, and by including in their IIAs investor obligations. Allowing HSCs to be able to seek remedies through international arbitration has a number of benefits.
Courts in Africa must construe arbitrability through a narrow interpretation of public policy, loyalty to the doctrine of Kompetenz-Kompetenz, and severability in international commercial arbitration. A proactive judicial approach should be based on distinctive arbitration practices that reflect Africa’s socio-economic background as well as contemporary arbitral trends around the world, as this is a viable means to reduce the influence of public policy on questions of arbitrability in Africa.
Several Members still consider that a serious consideration of the Interim Arbitration Proposal weakens any efforts to strengthen the Appellate Body or the ongoing DSU reforms. In that context, and even if this proposal is only ad hoc in nature, several procedural and technical issues need to be addressed before serious deliberations can take place.
One of the key points of departure of this book is that ‘the prevailing investment treaty based rules regime institutionalises neoliberalism, which argues for a lesser involvement of the state in the market’ (p. 19), and that ‘despite neo-liberalism’s aversion to the role of the state in economic matters, the state is responsible for the public interest and is the highest authority and a reduction in its economic functions’ (p. 19). It is on this basis that Adeleke theorises a harmonisation between the neoliberalist attitudes of international investment law on the one hand, and the public interest objectives of human rights law on the other.