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

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1.     Background of the Research

Formerly, traditional means of settling disputes have been a common occurrence in Nigeria.[1] Before the advent of colonial administration in the late 19th century, parties were represented by persons skilled in oratory prowess, who could argue and who possessed the persuasive power of argument.[2] The most serious disputes were resolved by a council of elders that would take testimony and sometimes hear the arguments of agents advocating on behalf of the disputants.[3] It was the general belief then that no appeal could come from those judgments partly because the people feared and believed in the elders and therefore their wisdom could not be questioned. As conservative as this would sound, embedded in this practice was what has come to be known as arbitration today.

Arbitration has been defined as the reference of a dispute or difference between not less than two parties for determination, after hearing both sides in a judicial manner, by a person or persons other than a court of competent jurisdiction.[4] Arbitration is defined in section 57 (1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act[5] as commercial arbitration whether or not administered by permanent arbitral institute.

According to Redfern & Hunter, [6] arbitration means a situation where “two or more parties, faced with a dispute which they cannot resolve for themselves, agreeing that some private individual will resolve it for them and if the arbitration runs its full course….it will not be settled by a compromise but by a decision”.

Ezike sees arbitration as a method of settling disputes under which the parties agree to be bound by the decision of a third person whose decision is, in general, final and legally binding on both parties[7] . As far as the term arbitration is concerned, there are almost as many other definitions of the term as there are commentators on the subject.

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