The Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) in collaboration with Famsville Solicitors, Olawoyin & Olawoyin and Doyin Rhodes Vivour & Co is organizing a 1-day roundtable discussion on Maritime Business & Disputes. 

The two panel discussion will provide first-hand insight and knowledge on the following topics: 

Session 1: African Continental Free Trade Area – growing export market and the potentials for the maritime industry.

Session 2: Integrating the African Continent for the development of Maritime Trade – eliminating trade barriers and dispute resolution management.

Registration has now closed.

A Stakeholders’ Roundtable on Sports Business and Dispute Resolution will be held on Tuesday, 19th March 2019. This roundtable is a collaborative effort between Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre and the following organisations: the Lagos State Sports Commission, Akinwunmi and Busari, Andi Daze Legal, SuperSport, 7Up Bottling Company Plc, Aiteo and Connect Marketing.

Event Details
Modern sports industry is defined by a combination of commercial relationships designed to ensure sporting success as well as secure investments of interested stakeholders. These pivotal contractual relationships provide the commercial framework of the industry but are sometimes the subject of dispute. The sports industry stakeholders’ roundtable discussion is designed to make industry-specific alternative dispute resolution platforms directly accessible to sports bodies and active stakeholders towards strengthening legal frameworks and facilitating commercial growth in the sports industry.

Venue: The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Commerce House, 1, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Time: 10:00am

Highlights of the discussion will include:
• Enlightening stakeholders on key sporting principles
• In-dept review of various international sports dispute resolution structures
• Review of global best practice for resolving disputes arising from business transactions
related to sponsorship, merchandising, broadcasting and media deals
• Direction on the future of sports industry dispute resolution in Nigeria
• Proposals for internal legal framework for sports associations
• Provision of sample dispute resolution clauses for contracts and bye-laws; and
• Solicit firm commitment from stakeholders towards implementation of the clauses

Moderators
Fred Edoreh – President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State
Ololade Adewuyi – Chief Strategist, CampsBay Sport Media
Andi Daze – Managing Partner, Andi Daze Legal
Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya – Head of Sports Practice, Olisa Agbakoba Legal

Speakers
Seyi Akinwunmi – Vice President, Nigeria Football Federation
Chijioke Okoli, SAN – Founding Partner and Chief Counsel, Delphi Law Advisory
Uthman Mustapha, SAN – President, CAF Board of Appeal
Dr. Kweku Tandoh – Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission
Ibrahim Shehu Gasau – President, The Athletics Federation of Nigeria
Shehu Dikko – Chairman, League Management Company
Enitan Oshodi – Chairman, International Table Tennis Federation (Nominations Committee)
Felix Awogu – General Manager, SuperSport West Africa
Tunji Brown – Owu Sportswear
Nkechi Obi – Chairperson, Sports Industry Thematic Group of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group
Tijani Babangida – President, National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers
Sheriff Olaniyan – Chief Executive Officer, Surebet247

Registration has now closed

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) brings you the first edition of its Newsletter, Dispute Resolution Update. In this edition, we review events in Nigeria since the last quarter of 2016 which will impact commercial and investment dispute resolution, including:

– Efforts to reform Nigeria’s arbitration legislation;
– The Nigeria-Morocco Bilateral Investment Treaty, and
– The Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill.

Download the full newsletter here.

 

 

Here is an overview of the Roundtable Discussion held by the Lagos Chamber Of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) in conjunction with Perchstone & Graeys and Yusuf Ali & Co on Channels TV.

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) in conjunction with Yusuf Ali & Co and Perchstone & Graeys held a roundtable at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to discuss the Challenges of Financing Infrastructure.

Investors harped on the need for Nigeria to remove bottlenecks to capital access while urging reforms that would ensure that business owners get justice within the shortest possible time.

Read the full article on Business Day: http://www.businessdayonline.com/laciac-proffers-solutions-business-financing-contract-disputes/

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill (The Bill) has successfully passed through the Senate and awaits the concurrence of the House of Representatives and the assent of the Presidential to become law. The purpose of this reform is to modernize Nigeria’s arbitration law and tackle problems that have been a disincentive to arbitrating in Nigeria.

Under the present framework, guerrilla tactics have usually been employed in arbitral proceedings, often in the form of incessant “interlocutory appeals” to court complaining of arbitrator “misconduct” and often accompanied by injunctions to restrain arbitral proceedings. The Bill has removed the concept of “misconduct” and aligned the grounds on which awards may be challenged with the more limited “due process” and “jurisdictional” grounds contained in the UNCITRAL Model Law and the New Your Convention.

When an arbitration proceeding eventually comes to a conclusion, enforcement can be quite problematic if the losing party decides to challenge the arbitral award. Under the present framework, the scope for courts to review arbitral awards is very wide and is, in effect, almost comparable to the full merits review that applies to first instance court decisions. The Bill recently passed by the Nigerian Senate has taken a bold step to address this issue by considerably reducing the wide scope for judicial review that currently exists and, in its place, providing for an appellate level arbitral process that will review the award of first instance arbitral tribunals.

The creation of the award review tribunal is an innovative step which will go a long way in ensuring the finality and preservation of arbitral awards. Parties are given the option to refer their awards to the tribunal for review instead of going to court in the first instance to have an award set aside. The award review tribunal is expected to conclude the review within three months and either uphold or set aside the award in whole or in part.  An award that has been upheld by the award review tribunal can only be set aside by a court on ground of arbitrability and/or public policy.

Also, the Bill provides for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator, again limiting the involvement of the court in situations where a party requires urgent relief before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or appointment of the sole arbitrator. The option to appoint an emergency arbitrator as provided in the Bill gives parties the option to seek interim relief from the arbitrator instead of recourse to court.

Another innovative provision in the Bill is the expansion of the definition of ‘Costs of Arbitration’ to now include the arbitral institution’s cost and the cost of third party funding. While the effect of the inclusion of the cost of the arbitral institution in calculating the cost of the arbitration will probably not be significant  because most institutions already have their cost included in their Rules which the tribunal and the parties are obligated to comply with, the opposite is the case for the provision relating to third party funding.

Nigeria currently does not have legislation that expressly prohibits third party funding. However the common law doctrine of champerty and maintenance apply in Nigeria as part of received English Law. This raises significant doubt about the enforceability of third-party funding agreements. The express reference to the use of third party funding signals legislative acceptance of this mechanism which most business managers will find a useful strategy for keeping litigation costs off their balance sheet.

The Nigerian arbitration community eagerly awaits the enactment of what promises to be a major development in the evolution of commercial disputes resolution in Nigeria.

The Senate of the National Assembly on Thursday, 1 February, 2018, passed the Bill for an Act to repeal the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1988 and enact a new Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

The Bill is expected to pass through the House of Representatives and obtain presidential approval before it becomes law.

The proposed legislation will introduce significant reform in the practice of arbitration in Nigeria, and make Nigeria an attractive center for international and domestic arbitrations. The Bill contains innovative provisions on:

  1. Jurisdiction and composition of the arbitral tribunal
  2. Costs
  3. Interim measures of protection
  4. Recourse against awards
  5. Conciliation

More information on the new Bill will follow.

 

The Nigerian Senate has finally passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill after 17 years of consideration. The bill which seeks to reform the oil and gas industry will unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as well as other agencies, while creating two new independent entities namely the National Petroleum Assets Management Commission (NPAMC) and the National Petroleum Company (NPC).

Under this new structure, the NPAMC (now referred to as “the management company”) will have the responsibility for the management of assets held by NNPC under the Production Sharing Contract and the Back-in Rights Provisions. The NPC would operate as a profit-driven commercial entity, which will be run like a private company and will be responsible for management of all other assets.

The unbundling of NNPC may cause some concern to foreign partners and oil companies and questions may arise as to the legal consequence of previous agreements. The new Bill provides for the transfer of assets and liability, which would be “fully effective and enforceable against or in favour of the Management Company as if, instead of NNPC, the Management Company had been named herein”.

The lawmakers believe that the passage of the bill will open up the sector to better business opportunities, while ensuring transparency, accountability of revenue derived from oil and will help steer Nigeria out of recession.

On the 3rd of December 2016, Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the aim to improve bilateral trade relations and strengthen their business relationship.

The Nigeria/Morocco BIT is an ambitious update on traditional treaties and a significant attempt by two developing countries to move toward a more balanced regime of intra-African investor protection. Some of the significant provisions are:

Standards of treatment

This provision ensures substantive protection of investors by the host state usually contained in traditional treaties. It further states that investors are not only entitled to the minimum standard of treatment, but also to fair and equitable treatment, which includes full protection and security.

Sustainability

Sustainable development is a key theme of the treaty. The promotion of sustainable development is featured in the preamble as well as in other provisions. Sustainability can be found in the definition of “investment” under Article 1(3), which requires investors to contribute to sustainable development coupled with Article 24(1), which states that investors “should strive to make the maximum feasible contributions to the sustainable development of the host state and local community”.

Investors’ Obligations to the Host State

Another term of the treaty is the reciprocity of the relationship between the Investor and the Host State. Unlike, the traditional treaties, the Nigeria/Morocco BIT imposes a number of obligations on the investors. According to Article 14, investors must satisfy environmental and social impact assessment requirements based on standards agreed by the Joint Committee. Investors must also comply with international labour standards, uphold human rights and operate through high levels of socially responsible practices. Article 20 encourages investment, but not at the expense of environmental and social well-being of the host state; an investor in breach of this provision will be subject to civil liability in their home state, in the event that acts or decisions lead to significant damage or loss of life in the host state.

Dispute prevention                

In most traditional treaty agreements, there is provision for the amicable settlement of disputes between an Investor and the Host State. Article 26(1) of the Nigeria/Morocco BIT takes things a step further by requiring that prior to the commencement of treaty based arbitration, the dispute must be assessed through consultations and negotiations by the Joint Committee, after which the Committee has 90 days to submit relevant information about the presented case. This requirement applies to both Investor-State and State parties disputes.

As stated earlier, the Nigeria/Morocco BIT is a marked departure from the traditional treaties. Morocco has signed a number of treaties in recent years, most recently with Mali and Burkina Faso. Neither of these examples include the innovations found in the Nigeria/Morocco BIT. Nigeria’s most recent bi-lateral investment treaty (before the Nigeria/Morocco BIT) was with China and was signed in 2001 and came into force in 2010.

Nigeria’s Arbitration Act[1], was enacted in 1988 and is now being reviewed to bring it up to date with international best practices in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Since it was enacted 29 years ago, there have been several important legal developments in arbitration.

This year, the Nigerian Senate is considering a Bill to amend the Arbitration Act.  Five important changes are likely to occur if the Bill is passed into law. In no particular order, some of these changes are as follows:

1. How many arbitrators make a Tribunal?

Section 6 of the current Arbitration Act provides for a default composition of an arbitral tribunal. By this provision, where the parties fail to agree, a Tribunal will be composed of three arbitrators. In the proposed Bill, Section 6 provides that the default composition of a Tribunal will be a sole arbitrator. This change will potentially reduce costs.

2. What to do in an emergency

Sections 16 – 18 of the proposed Bill create a procedure for the appointment and challenge of an emergency arbitrator, in instances where the parties require interim relief prior to the constitution of the Tribunal. Section 19 of the proposed Bill also requires that, where an application for interim measures is made to the Court, it must be determined in 15 days. Section 28 of the proposed Bill provides that interim measures are binding and enforceable by making an application to a competent Court.

These provisions address the need for urgent interim measures in arbitration, typically required at a time when an arbitral tribunal has not been established. This had previously depended almost entirely on the intervention of the courts.

These provisions address the need for urgent interim measures in arbitration, typically required at a time when an arbitral tribunal has not been established. This had previously depended almost entirely on the intervention of the courts.

3. Statutes of Limitation

Section 34(4) of the proposed Bill provides that in computing the time within which an application to court for enforcement of an award may be made, the time between the commencement of arbitration and the delivery of the award is to be excluded.

The present position of the law is that, unless a Scott v Avery clause exists, time to enforce an arbitral award starts to run from the date the contractual cause of action itself arose, so that there is a risk that if the arbitral process is unduly protracted, the right to enforce the award may be statute barred by the time the arbitration is concluded and an award is delivered. The proposed new provision means that the statutory time-limit in relation to an action to enforce an arbitral award stops to run from the moment arbitration is commenced.

Until this proposed change is enacted into law, claimants in danger of an approaching limitation statute may need to file a “protective action” in court to preserve their rights to seek relief through the judicial system.

4. Setting aside an Award

Section 55 of the proposed Bill expressly excludes misconduct as a ground for setting aside an arbitral award. This is a positive change because under the current legislation, the concept of misconduct has been defined so broadly as to permit virtually full merit reviews of arbitral awards. The draft Bill employs various devices, including the introduction of an Award Review Tribunal to narrow the scope and expedite the timeframe for award reviews.

 

[1] Cited as the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004

Nigeria’s National Judicial Institute has issued a strong statement of judicial policy in support of arbitration. In a letter dated 26 May 2017 and written to all Heads of Court, the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Hon. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON, FNJI, who also chairs the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, deprecated the practice where courts indulge parties who commence litigation in disputes arising from contracts with arbitration clauses. The Chief Justice emphasized the importance of arbitration in encouraging foreign investments, and counselled that arbitration “needs the support and encouragement of the judiciary”.

Although the Nigerian judiciary has historically been supportive of arbitration agreements, a number of decisions in recent times have drawn criticism. Some judges have refused to stay court proceedings that one party initiated in breach of an arbitration agreement, citing reasons such as: (i) the failure of the other party to commence arbitration or (ii) the interests of third parties who were not privy to the arbitration agreement.

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