ICCA 2016 Congress Roadshows :: Lagos, 25 November 2015

LAGOS PRE-CONGRESS ROADSHOW ATTRACTS 100 NIGERIAN ARBITRATION SPECIALISTS 

“The ICCA Congress in Mauritius will be a milestone in the history of arbitration in Africa”. With these words the Solicitor-General of Lagos State Mrs. Funlola Odunlami affirmed the Nigerian government’s support for the ICCA Congress to be held in Mauritius in May 2016.  Reflecting on Nigeria’s modern arbitration legislation and the growth of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) during the fifth and final pre-Congress Roadshow in Africa hosted by the Mauritian 2016 Host Committee and ICCA, she appealed to ICCA to engage with African dispute resolution beyond the Congress, going forward. This message was affirmed by the representative of the government of Mauritius, Mr. Yousouf Mohamed Ramjanally, whose Pan-African message about the Mauritian arbitration project’s broader role in supporting the growth of international arbitration on the continent struck a cord with the 100 assembled dispute resolution specialists.

Other speakers tackled rule of law issues. President of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Mr. Supo Shasore SAN, noted that Nigeria represents the largest single litigation market on the continent, and that in this context arbitration plays an important role in providing access to justice, especially where courts are contested. Taking the perspective of the user, Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunle SAN (Chair of the Board of the new Lagos Chamber of Commerce dispute resolution initiative LACIAC) highlighted the certainty provided by instruments such as the New York Convention, applauding the work of organisations like UNCITRAL and the IBA in developing guidelines and frameworks within which arbitration can flourish. The focus then turned to the recent developments in arbitration in Africa, with a lively panel discussion featuring contributions from the PCA’s Special Representative in Mauritius, Farouk El-Hosseny, LCIA-MIAC’s Registrar Ndanga Kamau, the LCA’s General Counsel Tolu Obamurah and Duncan Bagshaw of Stephenson Harwood.

The full programme concluded with an insight into ICCA and its mission by ICCA Executive Director Lise Bosman and some practical information about the Congress by Duncan Bagshaw and Ndanga Kamau. New ICCA Governing Board member (and LCA Board member) Ms. Olufunke Adekoya SAN closed the day by announcing the LCA’s plans to distribute ICCA’s New York Convention Judges’ Guide to Lagos State and Federal judges in the coming weeks, and invited participants to “come to Mauritius to follow the conclusion of the debates!” Guests then enjoyed the LCA’s warm hospitality at a closing reception that also gave guests the opportunity to admire the new [ADR…] premises for dispute resolution – home to multiple Lagos-based dispute resolution institutions – which include 11 full hearing suites and extensive conferencing facilities.