By mutual consent of the parties, an arbitration procedure involves submitting the disagreement to one or more arbitrators who then render a legally enforceable ruling.

11/28/20223 min read


In Nigeria, the initial stage in starting an arbitration procedure is the appointment of arbitrators. By mutual consent of the parties, an arbitration procedure involves submitting the disagreement to one or more arbitrators who then render a legally enforceable ruling. Instead of going to court, the parties decide to resolve their disputes privately through arbitration. In Nigeria, arbitration is governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap. A18 LFN 2004. (ACA). This article's goal is to go over the process of choosing arbitrators for arbitration hearings.

The arbitration agreement must, according to the ACA's regulations, specify who will be the arbitrators in the procedure. The method for choosing an arbitrator is left up to the parties. However, we would like to highlight the two main procedures for appointing an arbitrator:

  • By the method agreed by the parties to the arbitral proceedings: This is usually stated in the arbitral agreement.

  • By the court.

The number of arbitrators to be chosen in accordance with the arbitration agreement may be decided by the parties. The method by which an arbitrator will be chosen may also be specified by the parties in the arbitration agreement. The parties may decide between any of the following choices in line with ACA if the agreement does not specify the process for selecting an arbitrator:

Where the arbitration is one that requires three (3) Arbitrators then each party may be allowed to appoint one Arbitrator each and then the two (2) Arbitrators so appointed will then appoint a 3rdarbitrator. Where the Arbitral proceeding is one that requires one Arbitrator then the parties will be allowed to agree on the Arbitrator to preside over the matter. The court can appoint an Arbitrator if the parties apply to the court to do so. The parties may provide an alternative procedure for appointing the Arbitrator which may not involve the court.


When three (3) arbitrators are needed for the arbitration, the two arbitrators that the parties chose are expected to choose a third arbitrator. A party to the process may apply to the court for the appointment of an arbitrator if any of the parties fails to do so after being requested to do so by the other party. In cases when the two Arbitrators chosen by the parties to the proceeding fail to name a third Arbitrator, the parties to the proceeding may ask the court to name the third Arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree on an Arbitrator in a matter where only one Arbitrator is required, the Judge may appoint an Arbitrator after receiving a court application.

When a court decides that an arbitrator should be appointed, that decision is final and cannot be appealed.

The court is expected to take into account any additional requirements necessary to ensure the nomination of an independent and impartial Arbitrator when appointing an Arbitrator, as well as any credentials that are specific to the role of an Arbitrator.


  • He must be someone who can work independently and be impartial to the parties in the arbitral proceedings.

  • He must disclose any doubts, which he may have as to his impartiality during the proceedings.

  • He must have requisite legal or any other professional expertise.

  • He must have strong management skills He should have full mastery of the procedures to follow.

  • He must be able to devote sufficient time to the proceedings

The selection of an arbitrator is the final crucial step in any arbitration process. This is because, like a judge, an arbitrator who has been appointed determines the rights and obligations of the parties. Any arbitrator's knowledge, talents, and integrity are their three most essential qualities. Prior to accepting any arbitral assignment, an arbitrator must be impartial and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact



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