By Felix Kuyinu
Arbitration practitioners have been urged to enforce significant improvement in standards as well as attitude towards accountability and integrity in the discharge of their duties.
The call was made by an arbitration committee of the International Law Association, ILA, Nigerian Branch, during the 2023 annual Dinner event held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
President of the organization, Prof. Damilola Olawuyi stated at the event tagged: ‘International Arbitration: Putting Our House in Order’, that there is urgent need to bring leading experts to reflect upon the current state of arbitration in the society as well as executing plans to ensure there is notable difference in activities within the scope.
Olawuyi, SAN, stressed that it is imperative to allign arbitration practices in the country as a whole with international standards which will serve as a crucial platform in resolving commercial disputes.
Tolulope Aderemi, Chairman of the Arbitration Commitee set up in spearheading change within the Nigerian arbitration landscape lamented the decline in the reputation of arbitration practitioners and emphasised the need for a universal code of ethics.
Aderemi proposed the idea of practitioners having accountability partners to ensure adherence to ethical standards.
He countered the notion of Nigerian arbitrators being incompetent, rather, highlighting the presence of experienced and diligent professionals with impeccable character.
The Committee Chairman expressed concerns on the spike in number of arbitration-related appeals reaching the Supreme Court, calling for a reconsideration of such appeals on weak grounds. He stated that they hamper Nigeria’s potential as a preferred foreign investment destination.
The first female Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice , Lagos State, Mrs.Hairat Balogun, a Life Bencher addressed the ethical issues plaguing the legal profession.
Balogun attributed the loss of the profession’s standards in the society to the lack of adherence to ethical rules and the diluted training of lawyers.
She criticized the current method of admission into the Nigerian Law School and urged the responsible body to reconsider the suggestion of admitting only students from accredited (not online) schools.
Amongst the dignitaries in attendance were a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, CFR, the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro, (SAN), the Attorney General of Oyo State, Mr. Biodun Aikomo, immediate past Chairperson of the Arbitration Committee of the ILA, Mrs. Doyin Rhodes-Vivour (SAN), Folashade Alli (SAN), Mr. Musa Sanusi, (SAN), and Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anichere (SAN) amongst other eminent speakers while the event was moderated by Shola Soyele of Channels Television.