PROJECT TOPIC – RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION AWARDS IN NIGERIA
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Over the years parties involved in international commercial relationships resort to arbitration. The arbitration here is called international arbitration as it usually involve parties from different sovereign countries. Such parties may be states; it may be that where neither party is a state or that where one party is a state. These parties normally appoint an impartial and neutral arbitrator, competent to make an award.
The international arbitration comes to an end when an award is made, but the case has usually been that in most cases the award is carried out willingly by the losing party while in other cases the unfavoured party is unwilling to implement the award. When this happens, the question of recognition and enforcement comes up.
Prior to the establishment of different enforcement mechanisms of international arbitration awards in Nigeria and other countries, the recurrent decimal was the invalidity and ineffectiveness of such awards. International arbitration has been precarious just like litigation as there have been clogs in the wheel of its effective operations. This has been so as the parties usually go home dissatisfied by not obtaining substantial justice.
This has for years led to setbacks in international commerce and worked untold hardship on the parties involved. As a result of the ugly situations faced by parties of international arbitration, people started declining interest in it. The position of things as painted above has for long changed. Those who still entertain some iota of fear in international arbitration do so principally as a result of their ignorance of the present legal regime on international arbitration in Nigeria.
Presently, Nigeria has a lot of legal backups and instruments that make the recognition and enforcement of international arbitration easy. Some of them include: Arbitration And conciliation Act, the UNCITRAL Model law, the Regional center for International Arbitration Decree, convention on the recognition and Enforcement of awards, (NYC), 1958, ICSID convention, 1965, MIGA convention, 1985, etc. With these instruments, Nigeria and foreigners embarking on International Arbitration are safe.
PROJECT TOPIC-RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION AWARDS IN NIGERIA
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
In international arbitration, some fundamental problems are encountered. These problems come to be by generally, the nature of arbitration and specifically the parties involved in international arbitration. For the purpose of clarity, the following areas should be looked into:
- In International Arbitration, the parties must be right parties who are qualified in the eyes of the law. This brings difficulty in the determination of valid or invalid awards and on recognition and enforcement.
- There are so many conventions on International Arbitration. A problem arises from the determination of the bindingness, scope, limitation, application, etc of a particular convention.
- Procedure and Awards: In most cases, the recognition and enforcement of international arbitration awards depends on the conformity to procedure and nature of awards agreed. This is an area of difficulty.
- The next areas where problems are encountered are on the determination of whether recognition and enforcement has been observed, the accuracy of the method of enforcement, cases of refusal of recognition and enforcement and problem emanating from the sovereign immunity provision on ICSID Award.
- Other major problems in international arbitration practice in Nigeria include: Ignorance of people and dearth of relevant materials, lack of uniformity in states arbitration operations, limited scope of Nigerian legislations, inadequate international arbitration centers, and economic and political instability.
It is expected that the above problems will find solutions in this work.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
Having identified the research problems in this work, one may unavoidably ask the following questions:
- What is international arbitration?
- Who can participate in international arbitration and must such a person have special qualifications?
- Are there roles treaty play in international arbitration awards?
- Are there procedures that must be conformed with in International Arbitration?
- e. What is the nature of international arbitration awards?
- What is recognition and enforcement?
- Are there methods for Enforcement: what happens when breached?
- What happens when recognition and enforcement of an award is refused?
- Sovereign immunity provision on ICSID Award: does it have any effect?
- What problems militate against the smooth practice of international arbitration in Nigeria?
It is hoped that his work will help in answering the above questions.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
This research project aims at achieving the following:
- Defining and explaining international (commercial) arbitration
- Identifying types of international arbitration
- Explaining the relevance of some important conventions on international arbitration in Nigeria
- Discussing the international arbitration procedure
- Discussing international arbitration awards
- Explaining the terms “Recognition” and “Enforcement”
- Discussing place of recognition and enforcement
- Explaining the methods of enforcement
- Commenting on the sovereign immunity provision on ICSID Awards
- Discussing the problems of International Arbitration practice in Nigeria
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:
This research will be conducted mostly using doctrinal method. Source materials will be obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Journey will be made into journal articles, case reports, legislations, treaties, textbooks, newspapers, and of course the internet. All these will not be prejudicial to the researcher’s inputs.
1.6 RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY:
The relevance of the topic – Recognition And Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards In Nigeria can never be over-stressed. This stems from the following facts:
- International Arbitration is an area of the law that has not been over-flogged by scholars. The conventions and statutes regulating international arbitration need to be brought into the limelight. This will enable persons engaged in international commerce to understand the security inherent in embarking on international arbitration.
- The work will look into the legal frameworks concerned, state their effects, their strengths, their weaknesses and make recommendations for possible amendments.
- c. A full discussion of international arbitration and other incidental matters will be of immense benefits to the students of law of arbitration and the entire persons that have interest in international arbitration. On the part of the students, it will aid personal knowledge and good performance in examinations while for the commercial communities; it will aid subscription to international arbitration with its attendant benefits as opposed to litigation. This will lead to improvements in international trade and improve cordial and harmonious relationships among people from different states.
1.7 DELIMITATION/SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
The scope of the study in this research is meant to cover Nigeria only; hence, the title Recognition And Enforcement Of International Arbitration Awards In Nigeria: A Critique Nigeria is in focus. The work will look at the legal frameworks in Nigeria on international arbitration. Conventions binding Nigeria, those relevant to Nigeria and important statutes in Nigeria will be discussed.
The work will only treat the following topics and sub-topics: meaning of international arbitration, types of international arbitration, conventions on international arbitration applicable in Nigeria, international arbitration procedure, international arbitration awards, recognition and enforcement of international arbitration awards, place of recognition and enforcement, methods of enforcement, refusal of recognition and enforcement, consequence of sovereign immunity provision on ICSID awards, problems of international arbitration practice in Nigeria conclusion and recommendations.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY:
There are certain factors that many likely pose threat to the actualization or completion of this project work. Some of them are:
- Absence of a well-equipped library: The Ebonyi State University law library which we resort to is ill-equipped. Books on international arbitration are scanty and a good percent of the available ones are unhelpful. Considering the fact that this project is hoped to be accomplished using the doctrinal method of research absence of a good and accessible library will be a problem.
- Financial and time constrains: Having stated above the fact that the law library is starved of relevant materials, it becomes inevitably expedient to resort to other optional media for sourcing materials such as search into law office libraries, state libraries, high court libraries, libraries of other neighbouring universities, the internet and personal books and materials. All the above mentioned alternative means of sourcing material are financial and time-demanding.
PROJECT TOPIC – RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION AWARDS IN NIGERIA
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