By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
An Estate Surveyor & Valuer, Esv. Emmanuel Edoh, said Arbitration is faster than litigation in landlord and tenant dispute resolution.
ESV Edoh made this disclosure in Abuja.
He stated that “Generally, Arbitration is a process of informal resolution of a dispute where the strict rules of court procedures in the court are not adhered to”.
According to the surveys “Arbitration in Nigeria for long was primarily governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, CapA18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (ACA) which stood unaltered for almost 35 years before its repeal by the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 (AMA) after gaining presidential assent on 26th May, 2023”.
He noted that the “New Act has been embedded with reforms that has changed the country’s legislation on dispute resolution bringing its legislative framework for enforcing arbitration and mediation agreements in line with the new York Convention 1958 and Singapore Convention on mediation. It applies commercial arbitration and inter-state commercial arbitration within the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any other country or countries (Section 1(5) AMA)”, Eboh said.
He explained that with the increasing number of cases being filed everyday in our courts, these courts have become so overwhelmed that delays in disposition of those cases have become the order of the day hence the need for resolution of cases between Landlord and Tenant to go through an informal means, “ Arbitration”, .
“Though arbitration is not a part of court system, it nevertheless comes under the supervisory jurisdiction of the courts. Provisions of the Art apart, the general rule is that, where the parties choose their own arbitrator to be the judge in the dispute between them, they cannot when the award is good on the face object to his decision either upon the law or the facts. “That is, the court will not as a rule, interfere with the decision of the arbitrator unless it is clear on the face of his award that he while professing and intending to decide in accordance with the law has unintentionally or mistakenly decided contrary to law.
The only other area where
the courts will interfere is where an arbitrator or umpire has misconducted himself or where an arbitration or award has been improperly procured such as where the award is a result of corruption or fraud”, he emphasized.
He said “A case before an arbitration can be decided within two or three weeks. The procedures and process are always non cumbersome and easy to understand. The arbitrator who may be a legal personnel or another professional trained as arbitrator can come down to the level of the parties before the arbitration panel and a well convenient venue and time will be agreed by the parties.”
He said the arbitration process involves, Initiation of Arbitrator by the claimant servicing a formal arbitration on the respondent,Appointment of arbitrator(s), Preliminary meeting, Submission of points of Claim and Defence and Pre- Hearing/Trial meeting.
Others are hearing and Evidence Presentation,Arbitration Award, Termination of proceedings and Award Enforcement and Challenge.
He said these processes can be completed within a short period and award given which will be binding on both parties.
But both parties must have agreed to resolving the case through arbitration in the first instance as it may have been enshrined in the tenancy agreement.