Personality of the Month- January 2019

Personality of the Month- January 2019

Personality of the Month- January 2019

Name of arbitrator

Christopher Adebayo Ojo, SAN CON

Education, awards and selected publications:

Education

  • LL.B (Hons) University of Lagos – 1977
  • Called to the Nigerian Bar – 1978
  • Certificate in Legal Drafting, Royal Institute of Public Administration London – 1981
  • LL.M London school of Economics & Political Science, University of London – 1982
  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration London – 1998

Awards

  • Senior Advocate of Nigeria – 1999
  • Chartered Arbitrator – 2002
  • Patron, Nigeria society of International Law – 2006
  • Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies – 2012
  • Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for meritorious service to Nigeria.

Publications

  • Co-Author of Handbook of Arbitration and ADR Practice in Nigeria
  • Editor-in-Chief, Nigerian Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (NJAM)
  • Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (AJAM)

Countries qualified to practice:

Nigeria and the United Kingdom

Language(s):

English, Yoruba and Hausa

Name of law firm or institution:

Bayo Ojo & Co, ITF House, 4th Floor, No. 6 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, Nigeria.

Please provide a brief background of yourself and experience working on disputes in Africa:

I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978 after graduating from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. I obtained LL.M from the London School of Economics, University of London and later got admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Since then I have been in active Commercial law, International Law, Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. I have acted as sole Arbitrator, member of arbitration panels, and as Counsel in numerous ad hoc domestic and international arbitrations and at the ICC and the LCIA over the last thirty-five years both within and outside Africa. I have also acted as expert witness in international arbitrations including ICSID. I have mediated in several disputes as well. I am a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), past Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria Branch.  I was a member of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) Geneva Switzerland, Council member of the Section on Energy and Natural Resources Law of the International Bar Association, a member of the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators, Washington, DC, a member of the Panel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Hague, Netherlands, Alternate Chairman of UNESCO Appeals Board in Paris, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators London, President of the African Users’ Council of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). I am a Chartered Arbitrator and currently the President of the African Arbitration Association.

How effective are the arbitration laws in Africa?

I would say very effective as most African countries now have recent arbitration laws that are UNCITRAL friendly. Those who have not are in the process of doing so and I am assisting some in this respect.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing African arbitration practitioners? How can these challenges be tackled?

For me, the biggest challenge facing African arbitration practitioners is Africans themselves. In spite of the fact that a lot of capacity has been built over the last two decades, Africans are still reluctant to appoint Africans as arbitrators.

Drawing from your experience as a former Attorney General of Nigeria, what vital reforms are in your opinion essential to encourage foreign investment in Africa?

The first and most important is to have investment friendly laws. Then a modern and UNCITRAL friendly arbitration law that has taken into cognisance latest developments and best practices in other jurisdictions of the world. Also, you need to have world class infrastructure in place.

As a former member of the board of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, President of the African Users’ Council of the LCIA and President of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA), what do you think can be done to ensure the much-needed diversity in international arbitration?

My short answer is awareness. Right now, everyone is aware that we must have diversity and everyone is working towards it.

As a leading arbitration practitioner in Africa, what advice do you have for young practitioners who see you as their role model?

My advice for young practitioners is that the road to the top is very long. Hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck will get them there at the end of the day.

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