The Role of the Court in Arbitration, Under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 2004
In the art of sophisticated dispute resolution the strategic fusion of the available means of dispute resolution is indispensable, it will be naïve to think otherwise. The various issues with regards the high litigation rates and expensive access to justice are a problem for policymakers and a nightmare for litigants and this has made people opt for an alternative means to dispute resolution. As arbitration grew worldwide, it began to gain the preference of most businessmen in Nigeria as a way of settling their dispute and the attitude of the courts began to change to a positive one towards arbitration. An attempt at a strategic fusion of arbitration and litigation to resolve disputes has been reiterated by the court in a plethora of cases. This essay examines the role the courts have played and continue to play a supportive role in ensuring that arbitration process in Nigeria is strengthened and empowered to perform its role in dispute resolution. It clarifies the functions of the court stipulated by the law on arbitration to deal with arbitration matters and the doctrinal bedrock of the functions and constraints on the tribunal and court in arbitral proceedings. This essay recommends the amendment of the Act in order to incorporate some emerging trends in other jurisdictions and the expansion of arbitral powers to enable the arbitral tribunal better deliver justice to the arbitral parties with confidence.