ARBITRAL AWARD IN THE NIGERIAN ARBITRATION JURIS PRUDENCE: A COMPARATIVE OVERVIEW

Introduction

Arbitration has in so many ways shown itself as a better alternative to ligation in the world of dispute resolution mechanism. This has made it a point of attraction to litigants who, because of the attractive factors inherent in arbitration as against litigation, always opt for arbitration as a better alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Haven chosen arbitration parties are influenced in the choice factors like, excessive cost of litigation against arbitration, the fact that parties choose their arbiter themselves as against the imposition of an arbiter in litigation, the fact that arbitration as against litigation still keeps the parties’ relationship intact. In all these considerations, parties in dispute put their efforts together and channel their scarce resources towards the conduct of a successful arbitration which will in turn give rise to an award handed down an arbitrator or arbitrators appointed the parties. These arbitrators owe a duty to the parties to hand down a valid award which will lead to the finality of the dispute between the parties. In order to effectuate this obligation, the arbitrator or arbitrators are guided certain rules and styles in handing down an award. These processes and steps taken before an award is handed down must also be taken into account so as not to make parties undergo an effort in futility. This presupposes that certain conditions must be complied with in writing and handing down an arbitral award. In addition, an arbitral award must conform with certain rules in terms of style of writing, contents and forms viz-a-viz the various categories of arbitral award. In this paper, effort is geared towards ex-raying these conditions for a valid award, the styles of writing arbitral award, the contents of an arbitral award and categories of arbitral award as well as the place of parties’ agreement in arbitral award.

The major essence of conduct of arbitral proceedings is to obtain an award which could be enforced against the defaulting party in an arbitration agreement or in any other transaction referable to arbitration. This  is obtained at the conclusion of the proceedings wherein the arbitrator or arbitral tribunal is obliged to meticulously peruse and evaluate evidence presented to it and come to a decision upon the case and hand down such a decision in the form of an award. But what is an award?. In a nutshell, an award is the decision of an arbitral tribunal final or otherwise.[1] An award can also be defined as the decision handed down an arbitrator or arbitral tribunal which determines the rights and liabilities of the parties to the dispute. The above definitions give the impression that truly, an award is only given at the completion of the arbitral proceedings. If an issue arises which will require the decision of the tribunal before the proceedings can continue, such decision given midway into arbitral proceedings can still be a legal and competent award of the tribunal

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