From Toyin Adepegba-Analyst,?
The Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA),?in collaboration with the Investment Climate Facility for?Africa?(ICF), Chevron Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, White and Case,?and Africa?Finance Corporation?(AFC)?has assembled legal experts, entrepreneurs, investors and the government in a West Africa Regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference?to reiterate the need to timely?resolve commercial dispute through effective mediation and arbitration to promote economic growth.
In his welcome address at the conference, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye urged the business community to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution for quick resolution of contractual disputes. According to him, the emergence of the LCA is due to non-avoidance of disputes in business dealings and the increasing need for an international arbitration and acceptable alternative dispute resolution center.
Presenting the Keynote Address, Mr. Arnold Ekpe, Director, Sovereign Wealth Fund, stated one of the challenges of the Arbitration process in this part of the world as ?Africans? themselves. He said, ?It is time for Africans to change their mindset by believing in arbitration process, thereby creating the right environment to build confidence in the minds of investors that the available process is reliable in the resolution of cases.?
Also speaking at the conference, Mrs Bimpe Nkontchou, Director, Lagos Court of Arbitration and Partner, Addie & Co Solicitor, London, said, ?It is known that Arbitrators of African origin are under-utilised in the regional and international arbitration circuit. Time has come for us to appoint skilled African arbitrators and use arbitration institutions on the continent.?
Nkonchou further added, ?ADR is far more affordable than litigation. Arbitration is distinct from other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, which include mediation, conciliation and early neutral evacuation. Though arbitration occupies center stage in the global dispute resolution market, these other mechanisms are equally important and in some cases, equally effective and much less expensive than arbitration.?
Nankunda Katangaza, Head of International Policy at the Law Society of England & Wales, who was recently named one of Britain’s most influential black people, said “I am delighted to be part of what I considered the most exciting and progressive institutional developments in Nigeria and Africa. The Law Society is pleased for the collaboration because of the positive effects the LCA will have in speedy resolution of disputes and improvement of business environments. The LCA presents opportunities for members of the Law Society to work closely with Nigerian counterparts in dispute resolution by joining the panel of neutrals.??
Present at the conference were several distinguished local and international legal and business experts, including Federal High Court Justice, Justice Rita Ajumogobia; former Vice President, External Affairs, Tullow Oil Plc, London, Rosalind Kainyah; Commissioner, Market Competition and Rates, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Eyo Ekpo; General Counsel, Chevron Nigeria, Eyitemi Ned Mojuetan;? Registrar, Mauritius International Arbitration Court (MCIA), Duncan Bagshaw; amongst others, who all harped on the many advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution over litigation.
The LCA West Africa Regional ADR?Conference?was proudly supported?by The Law Society of England & Wales, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria, and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), and is the center?s way of further creating and maintaining awareness of ADR and reaching the primary end users, consisting members of the public, owners of small and medium scale businesses and executives of large corporate and multinationals.