Nigeria’s incoming Arbitration and Mediation Bill, 2022

The incoming Arbitration and Mediation Bill (Bill) in Nigeria, which is said to be more commercially aware and more in tune with international practices, is set to change the legal landscape of mediation and arbitration in Nigeria.

22 Jun 2022 2 min read Article

At a glance

  • The incoming Arbitration and Mediation Bill in Nigeria aims to modernize and align the country's arbitration and mediation practices with international standards.
  • The bill has been passed by the Nigerian Senate and awaits the President's assent, intending to replace the outdated Arbitration and Conciliation Act from 1988.
  • The highlights of the bill include provisions for electronic communication as a valid form of arbitration agreement, consolidation of arbitrations and joinder of parties, and the inclusion of institutions' fees and third-party funding in arbitration costs. The bill also addresses the enforcement of arbitral awards and provides a unified legal framework for commercial dispute resolution.

On Tuesday, 10 May 2022 the Nigerian Senate passed the Bill and it now awaits the assent of the President. The bill will replace a 34-year-old enactment, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act Chapter A.18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which became law on 14 March 1988, and which was incapable of completely meeting the present intricate issues of arbitration.

A number of the important highlights of the Bill include:

  • Electronic communication can now form an arbitration agreement between the parties provided that the information is accessible.
  • Consolidation of arbitrations and joinder of parties are now permitted as well as emergency arbitration where a party seeks urgent relief. This is an effort to cut down on unnecessary delays and processes.
  • In instances where the number of arbitrators is unspecified, by default it will be understood to be one single arbitrator.
  • Institutions’ fees and third-party funding are now included in the costs of arbitration and in cases where parties do not agree on interest, the Bill provides guidelines for the awarding of interest by the tribunal. On the topic of expenses, tribunals and arbitral institutions are expressly permitted to place a lien on final awards pending full payment of arbitrators’ fees and institutions’ expenses by the parties.
  • In dealing with the controversial topic regarding the enforcement of arbitral awards running from the accrual of the cause of action, the limitation period for enforcement of awards now excludes the period when the arbitration was ongoing.
  • Parties may agree to a review of the final arbitral award by an award review tribunal, which shall endeavour to render its decision as an award within 60 days from the date on which it is constituted.
  • The default appointing authority is now the Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration in Lagos. Furthermore, the Bill expressly codifies the recognition of foreign arbitral awards in Nigeria.

The Bill provides a unified legal framework for the fair and efficient settlement of commercial disputes by arbitration and mediation and expressly codifies the recognition of foreign arbitral awards in Nigeria.

The information and material published on this website is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make every effort to ensure that the content is updated regularly and to offer the most current and accurate information. Please consult one of our lawyers on any specific legal problem or matter. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct or consequential, which may arise from reliance on the information contained in these pages. Please refer to our full terms and conditions. Copyright © 2024 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce an article or publication, please contact us