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the role of arbitration in nigeria post covid-19

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April, 2020 Edition

Covid-19 has taken its toll on every aspect of the economy and there will be no doubt an increased number of legal disputes, as a result of the slowdown of the economy. Many businesses are suspending their contractual obligations and invoking force majeure provisions, companies downsizing and invoking labour law issues, the list is endless. The pandemic resulted to the lockdown of public gatherings, including the courts.

Prior to now, the courts already had enough on their plate and when they fully re-open, we can expect a backlog of cases. In addition to this, the wave of new claims arising from the COVID-19-related issues will contribute to further delays. From the foregoing, we need to consider other alternatives to dispute resolution, and this is where arbitration comes to play.

Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute. In choosing arbitration, the parties opt for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court[1]. The decision made at the end of the arbitration is called an ‘arbitral award’, which is final and binding, and can only be challenged in court under certain exceptions.


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