The second edition of the book – Commercial Arbitration in Nigeria: Law & Practice is a 656 paged book, with 16 chapters and several current and very useful appendices. This book is indeed an authoritative text on the subject of commercial arbitration in Nigeria. Judge Bola Ajibola SAN FCIArb, formerly of the World Court, at the Hague, in his foreword to this edition, recommends the book as “an authoritative text on the subject of commercial arbitration,” and describes it as a “useful practitioners’ and users’ guide on the subject of arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods.”
The chapters cover an understanding of commercial arbitration, international and domestic arbitration, the legal framework of arbitration, the agreement to arbitrate, common defects in arbitration clauses, jurisdictional and enforcement issues as well as the questions of forum and language. The chapters include the commencement of arbitration, parties to an arbitration agreement, time limitation issues as well as difficulties with commencement of arbitration. There are also comprehensive issues related to selecting an arbitral tribunal, appointment of arbitrators, professional qualification of arbitrators, objections to appointment of certain persons, professional ethics as well as fees and cost of arbitration. Removal of arbitrators is also dealt with extensively.
The book delves into issues like recourse to court for preservative orders, as well as case law on when a party is deemed to have taken a step in the proceedings. It scours through the arbitration proceedings – preliminary issues covering admissibility of evidence, adherence to rules of evidence, methods of presenting evidence, expert testimony, and burden of proof. It also explores hearing in arbitration proceedings, arbitral award, and enforcement of awards. In addition to the general challenge of arbitral awards, a new chapter has been added, dealing with Challenge and Enforcement of Maritime Arbitration Awards covering the legal framework for maritime arbitration in Nigeria, the substantive requirements of a maritime arbitral award, challenge and opposition to recognition or enforcement of maritime arbitral awards, and international maritime arbitral awards.
A new feature of the second edition of the book is the chapter on Arbitration in Environmental and International Disputes, which covers topics like legal framework for and development of environmental arbitration in Nigeria. Construction industry and property arbitration, correction, interpretation, additional award and setting aside awards are also dealt with. There is a discussion of the Multi-Door Court Houses, international commercial arbitration, sources of the law of international commercial arbitration, requirements for valid international commercial arbitration agreement, and enforcements.
The release of the second edition of the book brings the law and practice of commercial arbitration in its modern and updated form, to the practitioner and all who are interested in alternative dispute resolution. I commend the Learned Senior Advocate, Dr Fabian Ajogwu for bringing out in January 2013, the second edition of the book, Commercial Arbitration in Nigeria: Law & Practice.
• Nwabulu was formerly a tutor at the University of London, Ext Programme