Arbitrators Raise Concerns Over Proliferation Of Arbitral Institutions

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Arbitrators across the world have raised concerns over the proliferation of arbitration institutions in Africa, advocating that Africans should consider one strong institution that can compete with the likes of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The Nigeria Branch of the International Chamber of Commerce, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Committee led the call through its
Chairman, Dorothy Ufot (SAN), alongside Professor Khawar Qureshi, KC and Mrs Folashade Alli, during a one-day international arbitration conference organised by the International Law Association (ILA), Mauritius and Nigerian Branches recently.

On his part, Mr Tolu Aderemi, who is the Chairman-Designate of the Arbitration Committee of the International Law Association (ILA), called on arbitrators to start considering deeper engagements with sector-focused Institutions for the purposes of knowledge-sharing, as opposed to creating multiple Institutions.

Aderemi, who chaired the second session at the conference, noted that the international business community witnessed an increased number of sector-focused commercial disputes due to the global pandemic.

According to him, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre witnessed an increase of 318 cases in the year 2021. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 946 cases, the London Court of International Arbitration, 444 cases and the Singapore International Arbitration Center, 1,080 cases.

He added that most of the cases were disagreements relating to third-party funding in arbitration proceedings, increased disputes in Earn-Out Clauses and Pre-Closing Covenants disputes, Supply-Chain disputes, and growing environmental and Social and Governance (ESG) amongst others. Aderemi further noted that for African arbitrators unfavourably compete amongst their international peers, they must deepen their capacity and the best way is to collaborate with sector-focused institutions for knowledge-sharing purposes.

Also speaking, the Vice Chairman of the International Law Association, Prof Olawuyi, SAN urged global arbitrators to brace up for disputes such as climate and energy transition-related disputes, business and human rights (parent company liability) disputes, decommissioning and remediation obligation disputes etc.

Olawuyi opined that international arbitrators must develop decommissioning and climate-related plans and strategies to avoid disputes, noting that arbitrators must evaluate rights and obligations under investment treaties and contracts and emerging new legislations, to avoid energy transition-related disputes.

Among the attendees at the conference were Rt. Hon Satyabhooshun Domah, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Mauritius, Hon. Rampertab, Director General of the Mahatma Ghandi Institute, Mauritius, Steven Sengayan, President, Mauritius Branch of the ILA and Ms Clemence Assou, Registrar, Mauritius International Arbitration Center (MIAC).

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