Is It Permissible Under Nigerian Law to Waive the Right to Apply to Set Aside an Arbitral Award

Is it permissible under Nigerian law for an aggrieved party to waive the right to apply to set aside an Award. by Richard Ayodele Akintunde*


Many Joint Operating Agreements (“JOA”) in the Oil industry in Nigeria today prescribe Arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism. This is not surprising because business men elect for arbitration in commercial disputes (despite its cost implication) to get results within a short time. With contracts involving huge sums of money Arbitration is key to getting effective results without delay as it is meant to dispose of cases with speed.

One of the advantages of arbitration over litigation is that parities have a freedom of choice of tribunal, venue, law and procedure. A fair number of the Arbitration clauses in these JOAs prescribe institutional arbitrations as opposed to ad hoc arbitrations. It is typical to find clauses in the arbitration agreements which prescribe the incorporation of the rules of the arbitral institutions into the agreement. A typical example is a clause like this:

“Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or in connection with this Agreement or the operations carried out under this Agreement, including, without limitations, any question as to its construction, existence, validity, interpretation, enforceability or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (the “LCIA Rules”) which Rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this Article.”

One notable rule in the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA Rules”) is Article 26.9   which provides as follows:

“All awards shall be final and binding on the parties. By agreeing to arbitration under these rules, the parties undertake to carry out any award immediately and without any delay (subject only to Article 27); and the parties also waive irrevocably their right to any form of appeal, review or...