Nigerian Court of Appeals Decisions Signal Pro-Arbitration Stance

By October 23, 2015October 9th, 2020Chang Law

As recently reported by Global Arbitration Review (paid site), the Nigerian Court of Appeal (the second highest court in Nigeria) has handed down two decisions in which it held that Nigerian courts have no jurisdiction to issue injunction orders to restrain or otherwise intervene in arbitral proceedings, except as provided for in Nigeria’s Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA).

Through these decisions, the Nigerian Court of Appeal unmistakably seeks to establish Nigeria as a pro-arbitration and business-friendly jurisdiction. Liberal arbitration statutes, backed by sophisticated courts that enforce such statutes in favor of international arbitration, are an essential component for modern, business and investor-friendly countries, especially in emerging markets such as Nigeria. The Nigerian judiciary is sending a clear signal that parties who wish to do business in Nigeria can draft arbitration clauses into their agreements, which in turn allow disputes to be resolved by impartial international tribunals, without concern that local Nigerian courts will intervene in such arbitration disputes.

The two decisions are Statoil (Nigeria) Ltd & Anor v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation & 2 Others, 2014 NWLR (Pt 1373) 1, and Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation & Anor, Suit No. CA/A/628/2011.

This is an Africa Business Blog post, presented by CHANG LAW. The blog series is posted on CHANG LAW’s International Arbitration (IA) Blog page, and covers a range of topics related to doing business in Africa.