Practice Area| DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The Dispute Resolution Practice of the Firm is the seat of all contentious transactions the firm handles and we do our best to ensure matters are speedily resolved. Although we have the stamina, fortitude and passion for extensive litigation, we also have the wisdom to press for amicable settlement when it best serves our clients’ interests.

We approach contentious matters with an outlook focused on the preservation of the client’s business relationships when necessary and are conciliatory or adversarial as the situation demands. Our practice is hinged on consistently providing innovative and practical solutions in the interest of our clients.

The quality of our litigation practice both within and outside the courtroom has been widely acknowledged by clients as “outstanding” and “extraordinary”. Our local, national and international clients ranging from business start-ups to multi-national companies, financial institutions, public sector bodies, utility companies, registered businesses and individuals benefit from our commercial approach to business disputes.

The above is true, in view of the fact that the team members consciously and consistently bring to fore in the drafting of all litigation papers; an analytical reflection of scholarship, proper knowledge of the mechanics of the transactions/events leading to the dispute and an accurate understanding of the client’s objective(s).

The Firm’s litigation team members have been actively involved in most of the biggest commercial disputes in Nigeria involving huge volume of evidence and complex legal issues, in all superior courts of records in Nigeria. The team has also represented numerous clients in mediations, domestic and international arbitrations.

Commercial Litigation

Our international commercial litigation team has the experience and resources to handle any piece of litigation. We get involved at all stages of a dispute upon briefing, from the very early stages, by helping to resolve initial issues commercially, all the way to undertaking a full-fledged litigation. Sefton Fross is known for its pragmatism, also for being formidable litigators when the situation requires it.

In addition to our commercial litigation expertise, we also handle disputes in a number of specialist areas including asset tracing and recovery, banking and finance, international enforcement and other commercial disputes.

Commercial Arbitration

We recognise that many businesses, consider commercial arbitration as their default dispute resolution mechanism in resolving their disputes, particularly cross-border transactions. Our team advises on all aspects of arbitration law and practice in Nigeria, from drafting of arbitration clause in contracts, through to the final hearing of disputes and enforcement of awards.

Our team is experienced in domestic, international commercial and bilateral investment treaty arbitration and has conducted arbitrations under the leading arbitration rules. We are also experienced in assisting clients’ after an award has been granted, as we have an experienced team, dealing with both possible challenges to the award granted and enforcement of the awards.

Our approach simply is that, whatever and wherever the challenge, we aim: to identify and analyse key issues that will determine the outcome of the Clients’ case; to understand their objectives and to use our expertise to achieve them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Mediation

Mediation is also fast becoming one of the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for commercial parties. Mediation involves a neutral third party, known as the “mediator”, tasked with the facilitation and negotiation and resolution of a dispute between parties.

The principal advantage of mediation is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to litigation and arbitration. It is also a much quicker process. Furthermore, where disputes are resolved by mediation, it is sometimes possible to preserve the business relationship between the parties rather than the parties permanently falling out as often occurs after litigation or arbitration. Mediation can take place at any stage of a dispute but it is usually desirable to hold mediation at an early stage.

Our dispute resolution team has mediated all types of disputes and we are available to advise and support clients who adopt mediation as a mechanism for resolving their commercial disputes.

Representative Experience

  • Advising an oil and gas company on a dispute regarding a US$220 million acquisition of participating interests in an oil and gas asset.
  • Representing an oil and gas company in its defence against a claim of a $44 Billion alleged breach of contract over an Oil Mining Lease in a suit at the Federal High Court.
  • Representing an American power solutions company, in its civil claim for a US$42 Million breach of power equipment supply contract against an indigenous telecommunication service provider at the State High Court.
  • Representing a foremost Insurance company in a US$25.2 Million civil claim for an unapproved loan, first at the State High Court and now on appeal at the Court of Appeal.
  • Represented the interest of a Client in a US$5 Million arbitration proceeding at the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration for an alleged breach of contract.
  • Representing an Insurance company in a civil action on a N150 Million Credit Guarantee dispute. The matter commenced at the State High Court, proceeded to the Court of Appeal and is presently on appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Representing the interest of a Client in mediation, for a compensatory claim of over Two Billion Naira against a State Government in Nigeria for an alleged breach of a Concession Agreement in relation to the concession granted by the State Government to our Client to manage, operate and maintain a cardio-renal health institution valued at approximately Thirty Billion Naira.
  • Representing a financial institution, in a fundamental right action brought by a customer of the Bank in respect of alleged restriction on the customer’s account.
  • Representing the interest of a financial institution, in several law suits brought against the Bank by customers and third parties and representing the interest of the Bank in almost all levels of the superior courts in Nigeria.
  • Advised an oil and gas company, in a claim for specific performance in respect of the wrongful termination of contract and assignment of interest in an oil-mining lease.
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