The Session had a total of Six (6) panellists
- Mrs Joan Sheazu SAN (Moderator)
- Mrs Funmi Roberts
- Mr. Seyilayo Ojo
- Dr. Yemi Agbelusi
- Mr.Baba Lawal Aliyu
- Dr. Agada Elachi (Virtual)
The Moderator, Mrs Joan SAN, began the Session and pointed out that in Nigeria, where litigation is commonly practised and considered rigorous, there is no doubt that Arbitration and Mediation have become a conventional vehicle and alternative for dispute resolution.
Hence, the introduction of the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 (AMA 2023) was signed into Law on the 26th of May 2023. The Act encompasses novel provisions that changed the framework of Arbitration and Mediation in Nigeria. Also Read: https://legalattorneyblog.com/2023/08/11/nba-ylf-laciac-nigeria-vyap-2-day-arbitration-workshop/
After that, Mrs. Funmi Roberts highlighted that AMA and ACA predate the UNICITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and Mediation. She pointed out that Nigeria is, therefore, a Model Law Country since more than 70% of the provisions of the two legislations are derived from the UNCITRAL Model Law.
She also focused on underpinning the AMA’s objectives to promote fair dispute resolution without unnecessary delay. The Law covers not just the domestic Arbitration but also the international Arbitration. In interpreting the Law, regard should be made to international best practices.
After that, Dr. Agada Elachi joined the Session virtually and discussed electronic communication in the arbitration agreement. He emphasized that when parties disagreed on the number of Arbitration, the default number is now one(1) under the AMA 2023.
As lawyers, there is a need to advise clients of all the electronic communication channels that have now been recognized by AMA 2023 and can be used as evidence of an arbitration agreement, such as Emails, text messages, and social media.
He also stated that the issue of stay of proceedings under AMA 2023 is no longer at the discretion of the Court; it is automatic and helps to strengthen parties to resort to Arbitration.
Mr. Seyilayo Ojo discussed the appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator. He stated that the work of emergency arbitrators is to appoint authorities to deal with interim protection measures. He also emphasized the consolidation and concurrent hearings in Arbitration, saying that the party who seeks to be joined must be a party in the agreement. Under consolidation and joinder in Arbitration, you cannot approbate and reprobate.
THE ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION ACT 2023 AND OTHER CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION.
Dr Yemi Agbelusi discussed third-party findings and the time limitation under AMA 2023, highlighting that the period of Arbitration will be excluded from the statute of limitation. Also, the AMA has stated that an Arbitrator or a mediator cannot be called to give evidence except if it is done in bad faith.
Discussing the issue of third-party funding, he stated that under AMA2023, any party interested in Arbitration can fund, which should be communicated appropriately with the party’s name. He also noted that Nigeria has joined third-party funding countries, and the association of third-party funders is self-regulatory.
Finally, the last Panelist, Mr. Baba Lawal Aliyu, discussed the Creation of the Award Review Tribunal. He stated that under the Act, parties can agree to submit to the tribunal and further agree on the procedure to be followed in the tribunal.
After that, the Panelists entertained questions and comments from the delegates and proceeded to give answers to the questions.
The Session ended with a closing remark by the Moderator, Mrs. Joan SAN, and a group photograph with Panelists.
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