Arbitration Award

Nigeria v P&ID and its Effect on UNCITRAL Model Law Arbitration

Justice Robin Knowles’ decision in the Nigeria v. P&ID case has received, rightly so, its fair share of international attention from arbitrators, scholars, legal practitioners and commentators alike. The decision has had a seismic effect, if not drawing significant attention, on the international arbitration landscape, for two reasons. Firstly, while the subject award is not the first to be set aside on account of fraud and/or breach of public policy of the seat of arbitration, such decisions are rare and far in between. One would have to go back years, if not decades, to find an award set aside on these grounds. Secondly, the decision has significantly redefined arbitration as we understand it, shaking it to the core, reigniting discussions on its viability and suitability, particularly in matters regarding investor-state disputes.

A New Era for Arbitration in Nigeria: The Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023

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.