Arbitration has become a preferred option for most businesses, with most parties becoming more inclined to substitute the more conventional courtroom dispute resolution clause with an arbitration clause to cater to their commercial contentions.

To help protect their business and to handle commercial contentions, most business owners have sought a faster, more reliable, more efficient and timely dispute resolution option. Arbitration offers a confidential and unbiased forum for resolving commercial disputes. Arbitration provides confidentiality and security for businesses that are very particular about their brand protection and don’t want their contentions open to the public.

The appalling state of the Nigerian Court system has contributed heavily to the significant development of Arbitration in Nigeria in the past five years by helping commercial arbitration establish a strong presence in the Nigerian business ecosystem and promoting arbitration as a more effective tool for resolving commercial disputes.

Commercial litigation in Nigeria has proven slow, unreliable and time-consuming. And despite new developments and trends adopted to improve commercial litigation, most businesses have shifted their eyes to other viable options that give them the result they want in a more reliable and timely fashion.

Arbitration Organizations and institutions, the Nigerian Bar Association and Arbitration lawyers are also not left out of the conversation, as they have contributed to the development of arbitration by promoting the benefits of arbitration to businesses and governments alike. Each of these institutions has structured and implemented guidelines and framework to promote the best and fair practice of arbitration in the country by providing training and education programs to legal practitioners and engaging with international arbitration organizations and bodies to build support for the development and use of arbitration as an effective tool for commercial dispute.

Finally, a key conversation around arbitration is the enforceability of an arbitral award. Because of the complexities of navigating complex procedural issues, and the continuing development of Arbitration in Nigeria, a few businesses would still opt to have their dispute resolved by a court of law, holding the sentiment that a court judgment is superior to an arbitral award. However, because of the many benefits and cost-effectiveness of arbitration, there has been an increased awareness of arbitration and budding support for its use as a tool for conducting business dispute settlements.

We believe that the conceptualization and institutionalization of strong arbitration practices in Nigeria present a viable alternative for commercial dispute settlements.

This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Because of the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

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