ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN ARBITRAL AWARDS IN NIGERIA AND THE CHALLENGE OF TIME LIMITATION

ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN ARBITRAL AWARDS IN NIGERIA AND THE CHALLENGE OF TIME LIMITATION

ABSTRACT

Considering the importance of arbitration in the settlement of commercial disputes world over, this work has its focus on the effect of time limitation in the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Nigeria being that the current legal position in Nigeria on the limitation period for enforcement of arbitral awards appears to be narrow and too limited compared to what obtains in other parts of the world especially in jurisdictions like England, China and Hong Kong which in our view are better attractions for foreign investors. An analysis of case law and legal regime of principles of recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Nigeria is also carried out, the purpose being to show the progressive acceptability of arbitration as an alternative means to settling commercial disputes. The work equally examines the possibility or otherwise of enforcing an arbitral award that is subject to set-aside proceeding in Nigeria. Furthermore, examination of the attitude of the national courts to international commercial arbitration in Nigeria is also carried out. The study adopts a descriptive and analytical approach because the work describes and analyses the present state of the law in Nigeria with respect to the area of focus. The objective is to show like in some jurisdictions such as China, England and Hong Kong that the limitation for commencing enforcement proceedings runs from the final date on which, pursuant to the award, the losing party is obliged to comply with its terms. Finally, some recommendations are offered in view of making Nigeria the centre of interest in conducting foreign arbitral proceeding as well as enforcement of such awards.