Institutional Framework of Arbitration in Nigeria
The use of Arbitration in resolving disputes resulting from commercial transactions between organisations, corporations, individuals, and others has increased as industries and the corporate world have grown. These have ushered in the emergence of arbitration institutions. These organisations play a significant role in the arbitration process.
Some professional associations function as arbitrators in their professions, while others specialise in a specific type of dispute or region, and others, such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Nigeria, deal with all types of commercial disputes. The following include the different arbitration institutions in Nigeria:
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) UK (Nigeria Branch)
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria Branch is one of the branches of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, created in 1915 in the United Kingdom. The CIArb Nigeria Branch follows the CIArb Arbitration Rules of December 2015 when conducting arbitration proceedings.
Upon satisfying the conditions, the mother body conferred CIArb Nigeria Branch, branch status in 1999. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Arbitration Scheme (the ‘Scheme’), which was inaugurated in 2017, is one of the highlights of the CIArb Nigeria Branch’s services.
The MSME Arbitration Scheme Rules govern Arbitration under the Scheme. The Scheme applies to commercial disputes with monetary values ranging from N250,000.00K (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) to N5,000,000.00K, according to the Rules (Five Million Naira).
The Scheme is designed to provide a simple, cost-effective, and timely resolution of disputes through an arbitrator’s final, legally binding decision within specified strict timelines and at reduced costs. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch) promotes and facilitates alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to court litigation.
Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb)
The Nigeria Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) is Nigeria’s premier arbitration institute, founded in 1979 under the leadership of Judge Bola Ajibola, SAN, KBE, former Attorney General of Nigeria and former Judge of the World Court at The Hague, and duly incorporated as a legal entity Limited by Guarantee in 1988 under the Companies Act.
The Nigerian Institute has been at the forefront of promoting the domestication, knowledge, and practice of Arbitration and ADR in Nigeria since 1979. It has established itself as the preferred appointing authority and arbitration handling institution for many commercial disputes.
Advocacy, capacity building, research, arbitration referral services, strategic cooperation, and program development are among the Nigerian Institute’s key tactics for promoting ADR.
The Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration – Lagos (RCICAL)
Under the Asian African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), RCICAL was founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 1989. On 26 April, 1999, the Federal Government of Nigeria signed a Headquarters Agreement with AALCO to ensure that RCICAL’s operations in Nigeria would continue. Subsequently, the Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration Act No. 39 of 1999 gave legislative approval to the agreement.
Read also: Overview of Arbitration in Nigeria
The United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules of 1976 (as revised in 2013) were adopted as the basis for RCICAL’s arbitration rules, which came into effect on 3 October, 2019. Domestic arbitrations managed by RCICAL, on the other hand, are governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
The Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA)
The Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) is a private-sector-led international center for the settlement of commercial disputes through Arbitration and other types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It was established under the Lagos Court of Arbitration Law, No. 17, 2009 and it was officially launched on 9 November, 2012.
The 2018 LCA Arbitration Rules govern the proceedings under LCA. Parties must agree that their dispute will be resolved under the LCA Rules or the Lagos State Arbitration Law, 2009 to conduct Arbitration under the LCA. This can be accomplished by simply including the LCA’s arbitration clause in their contract.
Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC)
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is linked with the LACIAC, an independent full-service alternative dispute resolution center. It is not an arbitral tribunal that settles disputes; instead, it oversees the work of arbitral tribunals, mediators, and other dispute resolution professionals. LACIAC procedures are handled under the LACIAC Rules of Arbitration 2016.
LACIAC Rules 2016 also includes specialised Fast Track Arbitration rules, Emergency Arbitration and Guidance for Online Dispute Resolution. LACIAC is one of the few arbitration institutes in Nigeria, if not all of Africa, that provides an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) service. It is in Lagos, Nigeria’s Victoria Island.
Other professional Associations
In their various rules and standards of practice, some other professional associations in the country may also provide for Arbitration. The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), the Council for the Regulation of Engineering Profession in Nigeria (COREN), and others are examples of such organizations.