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LITIGATION PREPONDERATES OVER ARBITRATION IN THIS INSTANCES

Dictum

No doubt, there are some instances where even though parties have submitted to arbitration, suitability of litigation preponderates over arbitration. These are instances among others: 1. Where the issue for resolution is essentially a legal one. 2. Where the issue turns largely on the credibility of the evidence. 3. Where immediate enforcement of a right is required. 4. Where one of the parties is intransigent. 5. Where there are multiparty disputes arising from a transaction e.t.c. Thus an arbitration agreement cannot and does not completely oust the jurisdiction of the Court. U

BA v Triedent Consulting Ltd. (SC.CV/405/2013, July 07, 2023)

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PARTIES ARE BOUND BY ARBITRAL AWARD

Once parties have consented to arbitration, they have also consented to accept the final award by the arbitrator.

– Nimpar, JCA. Dunlop v. Gaslink (2018)

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CRIMINAL MATTERS & FRAUD ARE NOT ARBITRABLE

Disputes which are subject of an arbitration agreement must be arbitrable. Matters like criminal matters or where fraud is alleged and raised as a matter of public policy are not to be settled privately by arbitration. See B. J. EXPORT & CHEMICAL CO. LTD v. KADUNA PETRO-CHEMICAL CO. LTD. (Supra).

— H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. UBA v Triedent Consulting Ltd. (SC.CV/405/2013, July 07, 2023)

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PARTY CANNOT RESILE AFTER SUBMISSION TO CUSTOMARY ARBITRATION

On these facts of the customary arbitration by the Abuloma Council of Chiefs before whom the parties herein lead consensually submitted themselves to for the resolution of their dispute and the verdict of which arbitration was acceptable to all of them, it would no longer be open to either of the parties to subsequently back out or resile from the decision or verdict reached and pronounced upon the arbitration. See Oparaji v. Ohanu (1999) 9 NWLR (Pt. 618) 290, (2001) FWLR (Pt. 43) 385. The appellants are now estopped from resiling out of the customary arbitration of the Abuloma Council of Chiefs, which they voluntarily submitted their dispute with the respondents to, and agreed to accept the verdict of. Apart from this specie of estoppel operating as estoppel per rem judicatam; it also operates as estoppel by conduct by virtue of section 150 of the Evidence Act, 1990 (now section 169 of the Evidence Act, 2011). It is, therefore, unconscionable for the appellants, having by their words or conduct made the respondents to believe that they would be bound by the verdict of the Abuloma Council of Chiefs, to resile out of it and set up the suit, the subject of this appeal. See Joe Iga & Ors. v. Ezekiel Amakiri & Ors. (1976) 11 SC 1 at pages 12 – 13.

— Eko JSC. Benjamin v Kalio (2017) – SC/207/2006

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ARBITRAL PROCEEDINGS LACK THE SOPHISTICATION OF REGULAR COURTS

In Celtel Nigeria BV v. Econet Wireless Limited (2014) LPELR-22430(CA) @ 60 explained, succinctly, the nature of arbitral proceedings before an Arbitration Tribunal as follows: “An Arbitral Tribunal is by nature an informal adjudicatory body lacking the sophistication and technical know-how of Judges of regular Courts. Arbitral Tribunals are also not bogged down in the procedural trappings of regular Courts. Arbitral proceedings are therefore treated with a broad, liberal/open mind leaning on the side of dynamism, commercial sense, latitude and common sense.”

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WRONG FACT FINDING CANNOT SET ASIDE AN ARBITRAL AWARD

In arbitration proceedings, the general principle is that facts finding by an Arbitrator is not a ground for setting aside an award on the ground that it is wrong nor on the ground that there is no evidence on which the facts could be found because that would be mere error of law.

– Garba, JCA. Dunlop v. Gaslink (2018)

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AWARD IS BINDING ON PARTIES

What the learned trial Judge recognized and ordered to be enforced was an arbitral award not a judgment. Appellant should have pursued in England by way of an appeal against the arbitral award but failed to do so. The award is binding on the parties and since the arbitral award is not fraudulently procured and it’s not against public policy, the court is bound to give effect to such award.

— Mshelia, JCA. Tulip v Noleggioe (2010) – CA/L/744/07

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