Chartered Institute of Arbitrators gets Ibadan chapter

Scores of eminent jurists converged on Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for the inauguration of the Ibadan chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

It was memorable day as Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi (SAN) assumed office as the chapter’s pioneer chairman.

The event coincided with Fagbemi’s 22nd wedding anniversary. He is married to Fatima, an engineer.

Fagbemi urged the Chief Judges of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states and other heads of courts to follow the Lagos State Judiciary’s example in making Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mandatory.

He said “I cannot end this address without saying a few words on the value of ADR mechanisms of which arbitration is just one.

“If effectively utilised , ADR can help to reduce of the backlog of the considerable number of cases, which we all know bog down the administration of justice in our climes.

“The Lagos State Judiciary has raised the bar with the new High Court of Lagos Civil Procedure Rules (2019), which in its Pre-Action Protocol , Practice Direction Number 2 , makes it mandatory to attempt resolution of the disputes by ADR means before a cause of action is instituted in court.

“I will like to pleas with Your Lordships, the Chief Judges of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun and Ondo states and other heads of court to follow suit.

“This would encourage more people to acquire requisite training , one of the core services offered by the Institute of Arbitrators,” he said.

Fagbemi also urged his colleagues to embrace ADR as part of practice tools in the temple of justice “ where we ply our trade”.

Chair, Nigeria Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, said the institute is eminently renowned worldwde.

According to her, arbitration has a lot of benefits both to the country and members of the institute.

“It gives investors the confidence to invest in the country, and imparts positively on economic development,” she added.

While appealing to lawyers not to destroy the process, Rhodes-Vivour outlined reasons for setting up the chapter.

She said a lot of work was done to get the Board of Trustees’ approval for the Ibadan chapter.

“It was not gotten on a platter of gold … Its not s money making venture but a service to humanity,” she said.

The first Vice Chairman, Nigeria Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Mr. Olatunde Busari (SAN) in his presentation entitled: Arbitration: What the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators can do for you, detailed the history of the institute and explained what members can benefit from it.

He stated that the aim of the institute which was founded in the United Kingdom in 1915 was to raise the status of arbitration to the dignity of a distinct and recognised position as one of the learned professions.

While listing the services provided by the Nigeria branch, the SAN said in addition to its activities as a professional body and training and certification of ADR practitioners, the branch is available to appoint suitably qualified persons to act as arbitrators as and when required.

The Managing Partner, Afe Babalola & Co, Mr Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), who is a member of the Ibadan Chapter, and one of the Nigeria’s representatives at the International Court of Arbitration (ICA), noted that apart from helping in the dispensation of justice, arbitration has helped many countries to attract huge foreign investments.

He said “Every country wants foreign investments. And that is the truth – every country desires to attract foreign investors into the country.

“But one of the challenges which often discourage foreign investors from investing in a country is the issue of dispute resolution.

“Foreign investors are often reluctant to invest in developing countries or what are often referred to as third world countries because the legal systems in those countries are usually slow.

“In a recent survey carried out, it was discovered that whereas in some developed countries, it will take only about 18 months to dispose of a matter in court, in developing countries or third world countries like Nigeria, cases can be in court for up to seven, eight, nine or even 15 years.

“So, that became sort of a problem why foreign investors will not want to invest in developing countries. The solution to that is arbitration.”

Thirteen members were inducted and sworn in by Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour , with Prince Fagbemi as the Chapter’s Chairman.

The Ibadan chapter follows Abuja and Port-Harcourt chapters of the United Kingdom-based institute.

Guests at the event included professionals from accounting, oil and gas, banking, insurance, engineering, shipping, among others.

Among the dignitaries were first female Senior Advocate in Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke, Chief Akinwande Delano (SAN), Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Mr. Hakeem Afolabi (SAN), Engr. Bolaji Tubi and Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Munta Abimbola, represented by Justice Aderemi.

Others are Justice Esan, Justice O.I.Aiki, Justice A.A. Olatunji, former Oyo state Deputy Governor Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Mrs. Funmi Roberts, Lateef Olagoke Yusuff, Omoniyi Odeyemi, Mrs. Delayo Oriekun and Tolu Olatunji, among others.

Oseheye Okwuofu and Oyindalola Lasaki

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