International Litigation - Nigeria

International Litigation - Nigeria

Published May 2023


Fidelis Adewole, FCIArb

Firm: G. Elias
Country: Nigeria

Practice Area: Litigation

  • 6 Broad Street

Guide Content

Dispute resolution is central to the work of our firm. Our litigation practice covers litigation, arbitration, administrative hearings and investigations. We advise and represent leading clients on matters that are critical, novel, large and complex. Our lawyers are experienced in handling trials and appeals, dispositive motions and motions for stays and injunctions.

We work with speed, thoroughness, imagination, and with clarity as to goals, strategy and options from as early in the life of a dispute as possible. We focus on achieving our clients’ commercial aims and with an eye on what is realistic and practical. We also audit and manage large portfolios of dispute proceedings. We have an outstanding record of carrying out our work to the highest standards of excellence. The depth and breadth of our experience are acknowledged in all the leading international directories of lawyers.

In my litigation practice, I work regularly with multinationals, pan-African and Nigerian banks and government agencies in virtually every sector of the economy, including, but not limited to, the aviation, telecommunications, oil & gas, FCMG and construction industries. I am currently leading the team representing a multinational in the most extensive series of product liability cases ever filed in Nigeria, to recover more than N5trillion in total by five States’ Attorneys-General, plus the Attorney-General of the Federation. I am also part of the team advising a Nigerian company in two London-seated ICC arbitrations involving a claim of more than USD900mm against the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of a USD6bn hydro-power project in North-East Nigeria.

I am currently most active in representing and defending clients in commercial litigation and both international and domestic arbitrations. This is because we have a significant number of business clients in our clients' portfolio that engage in day-to-day commercial transactions.

There are no clients best suited for litigation than any other form of dispute resolution. The particular mode of dispute resolution to be adopted, whether litigation or ADR, will invariably depend on the nature of the matter, the cause of action, the provisions of the underlying contract (if any) and/or the client’s needs at a particular time. Certain matters may be more suited for litigation than any other form of dispute resolution for varied reasons. But in my opinion, there is no client who is more suited for litigation than any other form of dispute resolution.

Some of the challenges that arise from cross-border litigation include practice restrictions, varying procedural and substantive laws as well as judgement enforcement difficulties. The limited right to audience in foreign courts poses a challenge in such litigation.

In addition, court procedures vary from country to country. A perusal of applicable rules does not necessarily equip a lawyer with practices that are largely based on experience. Hence, there is always a need to brief and liaise with counsel in foreign jurisdictions for such disputes.

The emergence of COVID-19 led to more dependence and reliance on technology in virtually every sector of the economy, and the legal industry was no exception. Further, COVID-19 has prompted Nigerian courts to embrace technology in the administration of justice, such as adoption of electronic filings and virtual hearings as permitted by applicable court rules. It is almost certain that there will be a continued adoption and implementation of technology in the legal industry in Nigeria, particularly with the commencement and conduct of virtual proceedings as well as in communications, interactions and meetings between parties and court registries.

The sharing of information and insights is critical to the services we render as lawyers and the advice we give to clients. The ability to review laws, regulations, novel/landmark case laws and precedents and share with clients and a wider audience is crucial. It is important for lawyers to constantly engage in sharing insight and information to keep abreast of recent/new changes and developments that may impact the delivery of our services to clients.

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