ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS GRANTED IN NIGERIA AND OUTSIDE NIGERIA
Arbitration has become a well-liked and successful method for settling business and trade disputes.
ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS IN NIGERIA
Arbitration has become a well-liked and successful method for settling business and trade disputes. The objectivity, confidentiality, expediency, flexibility, and ease of enforcing decisions make arbitration advantageous to parties. According to the Supreme Court's ruling about the legal significance of an arbitral award, "It is very clear and without any iota of doubt, that an arbitral award made by an arbitrator to whom a voluntary submission was made by the parties to the arbitration, is binding between the parties". Ras Pal Gazi Construction Co. Ltd v F.C.D.A (2001) LPELR-SC.45/96.
In the era of globalisation, there is a chance that disputes will arise as trade and commercial activity increase. It is typical to find dispute resolution clauses placed into agreements between parties, especially when it concerns multinationals, to ensure a level playing ground and the continuation of a calm market environment. The dispute resolution provision lays out the process the parties will follow to settle their disagreement in the case of a breach of the agreement.
An action to enforce an arbitral award accrues not from the day the award was made, but rather from the date the dispute that gave rise to the arbitration arose. This complies with the Limitation Law's Section 7(1)(d). When there has been a definitive decision on important matters, the courts will uphold arbitral proceedings. Applicants must pay the appropriate filing fee as determined by the registrar in court; written submissions may not be longer than 20 pages, depending on the court. Review Rule 3 of Order 35 of the Lagos State High Court Rules. In accordance with Order 52 rule 15 of the Federal High Court Rules 2019, copies of the original motion, affidavit, and written submission must be attached.
ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS GRANTED IN NIGERIA
In Nigeria, arbitration processes are governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. A party seeking to enforce a domestic award may do so with the court's permission under Section 31(3) of the Act and as a judgement or order of the court. An original award and arbitration agreement that have been duly authenticated or a copy that has been duly certified must be included with the application to the court for the enforcement and recognition of a domestic award.
The High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules 2012, Order 39 Rule 4, states that a party may seek to enforce, remit, or set aside an arbitral award by filing an application on notice and an affidavit. Therefore, in accordance with Order 39 Rule 4(2) and Section 31(2) of the Arbitration and Reconciliation Act, such applications must be accompanied by either the original, legally authenticated awards and arbitration agreements or their certified true copies. The award has the same legal standing as a court ruling.
Although the High court's attempt to transform a foreign arbitration verdict into its own ruling has been questioned, the effectiveness of a motion on notice has not. The argument is that an arbitral award shares a status with a court decision. Ras Pal Gazi Construction Company, Ltd. v. F.C.D.A. (2001), LPELR-SC.45/96
A party who is dissatisfied with an award may ask the court to invalidate it. The dissatisfied party must, however, prove to the court that the award contains judgments that go beyond the panel's authority or beyond the parameters of the arbitration agreement.
ENFORCEMENT OF AWARD GRANTED OUTSIDE NIGERIA
REGISTERING THE AWARD UNDER THE FOREIGN JUDGMENT (RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT) ACT 1990
The Act permits the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments within six years following the judgement. The law's intent is to give legitimacy and legal standing to foreign judgments that accept Nigerian court rulings in a reciprocal manner.
Arbitrary awards are deemed to be judgments under Section 2 of the Act. Such a decision or award must be recorded in a Nigerian court that has the authority to hear the case. The ruling must be conclusive and final between the parties. Instead of a fee or penalty, the court will compel a monetary award payable.
Foreign arbitral awards may be enforced under the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules of 2009. According to Order 52 Rule 17, "where an award is made in proceedings on an arbitration in a foreign territory to which the foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act extends, if the award was made in accordance with the law in force in the place; it shall become enforceable in the same manner as a Judgment given by a court in the place, and the proceedings of the Foreign Judgments (reciprocal Enforcement) Act shall apply in relation to the award as it applies to other.
In Macaulay v. R.Z.B of Austria (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt. 852) 282, the Supreme Court ruled that Nigeria exclusively recognises and upholds judgements from superior courts in the United Kingdom and other commonwealth nations.
UNDER SECTION 51 OF THE ARBITRATION & CONCILIATION ACT,1990
The Arbitration and Conciliation Act's Section 51 ensures that an arbitral award will be regarded as valid and enforceable against the parties involved, regardless of the jurisdiction in which it was rendered.
A party wishing to enforce the award must file a court application. In accordance with Section 32 of the Act, the party relying on an award or requesting its enforcement must provide the following information to the court:
a duly authenticated original award or a duly certified copy; copy of the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy; a duly certified translation in the English language if the award was not granted in English language.
Also, Section 52 of the act itemise the list of grounds for refusing recognition or enforcement.
ENFORCEMENT UNDER CONVENTION ON THE RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN ARBITRAL AWARDS (NEW YORK CONVENTION)
The New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards is a treaty that Nigeria has ratified. Thus, the convention is in effect in Nigeria. The convention is domesticated by Section 54 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1990. Nigeria is required by the treaty to reciprocally recognise and uphold arbitral awards made in other co-signatory states.
INSTITUTING AN ACTION UPON THE AWARD
In a Nigerian court, a plaintiff may file an action based on the award, and that action will be treated as though it were the court's decision. The plaintiff will need to prove that the arbitration was properly performed in accordance with the agreement, there is an arbitration clause in the agreement, and the judgement is legitimate.
The arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction, the arbitral process, or the award may all be contested by a defendant.
ENFORCEMENT UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR SETTLEMENT OF INVESTMENT DISPUTES (ICSID)
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Enforcement of Judgements) Act was introduced by Nigeria on November 29, 1967, to allow for the enforcement of ICSID awards. The ICSID Act permits the recognition and enforcement of arbitral judgments.
The party seeking recognition must deposit a copy of the award, officially attested by the Secretary-General of the Centre, with the Supreme Court in order for it to be enforced similarly to a ruling from the Supreme Court.
In conclusion, by using arbitration, you can avoid wasting some of the time that would have been required for laborious and drawn-out court proceedings.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM
TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080