Nigeria Arbitration and Mediation Act, 2023

On 26 May 2023, the Nigerian Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 was signed into Law. The said Act repeals the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1988. This Act establishes its scope in two Parts. Part I relates to arbitration, and Part II to mediation (and settlement agreements resulting from the same). Many of the changes reflect the UNCITRAL Model Laws (the “Model Law”) in respect of arbitration and mediation. The First Schedule to the Act includes a comprehensive set of arbitration rules for ad hoc disputes referred to arbitration under the Act (see endnotes). The Third Schedule sets out the Arbitration Proceedings Rules 2020, a set of court procedural rules applying to and regulating “arbitration claims” made to the Nigerian domestic courts.

Within these parts, the Act comprises creditable innovative provisions that constitute statutory provisions on; mediation and enforcement of international settlement agreements, recognition and enforcement of interim measures of protection issued by arbitral tribunals, grounds for setting aside awards, award review tribunals, consolidation of arbitrations and joinder of parties, updates with respect to arbitrators in default number requirement and providing of certain immunities for arbitrators, appointing authorities and institutions for anything done or omitted in the discharge or purported discharge of their functions and third-party funding.

With Nigeria occupying a central position in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the enactment of the Nigeria Arbitration and Mediation Act, 2023 is likely to position Nigeria to become an arbitration hub for the region.

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