Arbitration Law

Prior to this development the arbitration law on the statute books of Lagos State was the federal
arbitration Act, the Arbitration and Conciliation Decree No. 11 of 1988, [the Federal Act]. The Act was
passed during a military regime and is stated to apply throughout the federation2
. The Federal Act, the
first modern arbitration law in Nigeria is a modification of the 1985 United Nations Commission on
International Trade Law [UNCITRAL] Model Law3
. The Act domesticated Nigeria’s treaty obligations
arising under the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral awards
After two decades of applying the provisions of the Federal Act the consensus amongst practitioners and
users was that the Act needed to be reviewed to ensure its continuing efficacy and effectiveness. Delays
had crept into the system and arbitration oftentimes had become in practice a first step to litigation. Time
spent during Court proceedings in support of the arbitral system contributed to the delay5
. Modern means
of communication resulted in outdated concepts and definitions under the Federal Act.
In 2005 Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN the immediate past Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
motivated by the need to ensure that arbitration and ADR process continue to meet the needs of users
constituted a National Committee with the mandate to submit proposals for the reform of Nigeria’s
Arbitration/ADR laws. The work of the Committee resulted in a Draft Federal Arbitration Act and a
proposed Uniform States Arbitration and Conciliation Law to be recommended to States for adoption.
The Committee also introduced an innovation, the Arbitration Claims and Appeals Procedure Rules to
apply to court applications relating to arbitration matters.
The rules are a set of specialized procedural rules aimed at enabling the expeditious determination of
court applications in support of arbitration6
. The recommended Federal Draft Bill is yet to be enacted into