HOW TO ENFORCE ARBITRAL AWARDS IN NIGERIA

Arbitration has been globally recognized as an effective mechanism for resolution of disputes between parties in a contractual agreement, for disputes arising out of commercial and trade transactions and for a host of other purposes.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/16/2022 2 min read

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HOW TO ENFORCE ARBITRAL AWARDS IN NIGERIA

Arbitration has been globally recognized as an effective mechanism for resolution of disputes between parties in a contractual agreement, for disputes arising out of commercial and trade transactions and for a host of other purposes. It is favourable to parties because they feel it's neutrality, confidentiality, flexibility, speed and the awards are easily enforced. Arbitral awards are granted by the presiding arbitrator(s) upon recourse to the arbitral clause in a contractual agreement or any other agreement as agreed between the parties respectively, to be enforced on their behalf by a competent court of Law.

Section 26 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, stipulates conditions upon which an arbitral award may be valid.

1. Must be in writing

2. Be signed by the arbitrator(s)

3. State the date it was made

4. State the place the Arbitration was made.

5. State the reasons on which the award is based, except as agreed by the parties to that effect.

The laws regulating the enforcement of arbitral awards in Nigeria may be classified into domestic statutes and international conventions

The domestic statutes include:

  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act

  • High Court Civil procedure rules, 2019

  • Federal High Court Civil procedure rules, 2019

  • Sheriffs and Civil Process Act

  • Through an action under the common law.

Arbitral awards are binding on the parties both within and outside Nigeria, but can only be enforced by a court of Law.

A plaintiff/complainant can bring an action upon the award in a Nigerian court to which it would have the same effect as if it were a judgment of the court.

In order to establish an arbitral award, the following must be proven by the plaintiff.

  • That there is an existence of an arbitral clause in the agreement

  • That the award is valid.

  • The arbitration was properly conducted.

Section 31(2) & 32 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, it provides the requisite processes for the enforcement of an arbitral award which includes:

The application must set out the grounds based on which the award is sought to be enforced. The application must be filed with the supporting affidavit exhibiting the

  • Duly authenticated original award or duly certified copy

  • Original arbitration agreement or duly certified copy

  • A duly certified translation in English Language, if the award was not obtained in English Language.

If the award is to be enforced under common law, the successful party must file an originating summons or notice, supported by an affidavit and a written address.

An aggrieved party to an application to enforce an award can appeal to the court of appeal and if still unfavourable, can proceed to the supreme court.

On the other hand, foreign judgments can be enforced through:

  • An action on the award under common law

  • Registration as a judgement under the foreign judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, 1990

  • Recognition and enforcement under section 51 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1990

  • Recognition and enforcement under the New York Convention

  • Recognition and enforcement under the ICSID convention.

The application for enforcement of arbitral award must be brought under Federal or state High Court depending on the subject matter of the dispute submitted to arbitration. However, the supreme court has jurisdiction over ICSID arbitral awards.

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 chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080