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International Council for Arbitration trains members in Lagos

Executive Director, ICCA, Megha Joshi

Executive Director, ICCA, Megha Joshi

IN line with its mandate to promote arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through introducing aspiring practitioners from around the globe, the Young International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) recently held a training workshop for over 60 young arbitration practitioners from diverse backgrounds and experience.

The event which took place in Teslim Elias Hearing Room at the International Centre for Arbitration and ADR, Lekki, Lagos, focused on :“How to get into International Arbitration” and “The Role of Local Counsel in International Arbitration”.

The distinguished faculty included: Yemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), Partner, Strachan Partners; Lise Bosman, Executive Director, ICCA, Megha Joshi, Executive Secretary, Lagos Court of Arbitration, Ndanga Kamau, Registrar, LCIA-MIAC; Tunde Fagbohunlu, (SAN), Partner, Aluko & Oyebode, Chair Arbitration Committee Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Others were: Farouk El-Hosseny, Legal Counsel, Permanent Court of Arbitration and Acting PCA, Representative in Mauritius; Funke Adekoya, (SAN), Partner ǼLEX Legal Practitioners & Arbitrators, Member ICCA Governing Board; Tolu Obamuroh, Associate General Counsel, Lagos Court of Arbitration and Duncan Bagshaw, Barrister Stephenson Harwood, United Kingdom.

Some members of the panel at the first session, recounted their experiences with Lise Bosman saying: “Over the years my experience and fascination for arbitration has evolved and deepened. Career planning as an arbitrator is no longer by serendipity, in recent times it is more purpose oriented and structured, with many renowned international institutions offering degrees and internship opportunities in the field”.

Another panelist, Funke Adekoya said:
“I found myself in arbitration because while I loved resolving disputes as a lawyer in court, I found that litigation could not provide a timeous resolution of disputes”.

Joshi informed the audience of an opening for internship programme at the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) for young practitioners or students desiring to gain practical experience in arbitration and other ADR mechanisms in an international setting.

She also announced the launch of the Lagos Court of Arbitration’s Small Claims Scheme, a targeted scheme developed to resolve small claim disputes for general compensation arising from breach of contract and or negligence: Applicable where both parties agree to settle their disputes in accordance with the scheme, either at the contact formation stage, or  after  a dispute has arisen.

The scheme is aimed at small claims between N1,000,000.00 and N5,000,000.00 under which small businesses have the opportunity to access resolution services for, pending commercial disputes.

This novel initiative is aimed at enhancing the competence of young practitioners and arbitrators through providing mentorship for young practitioners through supervision and advisory roles from expert arbitrators;  fostering professional and personal bonds between practitioners from diverse cultures, academic and geographic backgrounds and   providing access to professional development opportunities and career growth, as well as providing young practitioners with the chance to commence arbitration and mediation techniques in real situations at an early stage under the scrutiny of senior arbitrators and ADR experts.

She also stated that qualification for listing of the Small Claims Scheme panel of neutrals was by certification and experience and urged young practitioners to seize the opportunity to kick-start a career in ADR.

Speaking at the second session, Candide-Johnson, stated that: “In arbitration, the experience and expertise of local counsel are beneficial in any setting, especially in international disputes where complex procedural and judicial issues may arise”.

That viewpoint was further buttressed by Mrs. Kay Weinberg, an associate at WilmerHale New York, USA who stated that identifying arbitration strategies as soon as instructions are received and monitoring arbitration timelines are key factors in ensuring the effective practice of international arbitration by local counsel.

Kamau advocated for skill acquisition and experience in local arbitration practice in order to easily settle into international arbitration while Obamuroh stressed that in view of present day international commerce and trans border transactions, Nigeria may need to follow the Lagos example by amending the Arbitration and Conciliation Act stating that foreign lawyers are allowed to participate in arbitration proceedings in Nigeria, and that the Legal Practitioners Act does not apply to international arbitration.

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