On August 12, 2016, the Lagos Court of Arbitration Young Arbitrators Network (LCA-YAN) held its first Roundtable Series at the International Centre for Arbitration and ADR, Lagos. The event also incorporated the official launch of the LCA-YAN.
The event was attended by over 50 participants including legal practitioners and students. Young practitioners in attendance participated in an interactive roundtable session to discuss the theme Res Judicata in International Arbitration: Preclusive and Conclusive Effect of Arbitral Awards. Mr Isaiah Bozimo (Chairman, Advisory Board, LCA-YAN) gave a preliminary introduction of the topic to set the tone for the discussion and moderated the panel. Other members of the panel included Mr Tolu Obamuroh (Associate General Counsel, LCA), Mr Ajokpaoghene Utake (Co-chair LCA-YAN), Mr Prince-Alex Iwu (Co-chair LCA-YAN), Ms Shalini Soopramanien (Co-chair LCA-YAN), Ms Precious A. Adeyemi (Director, Research and Publications, LCA-YAN), Mr Abiodun Anibaba (Director, Events LCA-YAN), and Mr Orji A. Uka (Director, Events LCA-YAN).
The introduction included an overview of the preclusive and conclusive effects of res judicata as well as the public and private interest considerations behind the doctrine. Mr Bozimo spoke about the uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding the application of res judicata principles in International Commercial Arbitration as well as the need to have pre-established res judicata principles in this sphere. He also highlighted pertinent questions which underlie the debate on this issue including; whether it is advisable for international arbitral tribunals to apply res judicata rules developed for litigation? Should these tribunals apply the res judicata rules of a particular domestic law and if so which one? Or should they apply a transnational res judicata doctrine, detached from any particular domestic law?
Members of the panel in addressing these issues debated on matters such as whether a tribunal should adopt a conflict of laws approach, a comparative law approach or a transnational approach. The scope of the doctrine in international arbitration was also discussed, particularly whether a party should be precluded from raising issues that were not but could and should have been brought in the prior proceedings; whether a partial final award in res judicata on the tribunal that issued it and if the doctrine applies only to the operative part of an award or extends to the underlying reasons. Participants other than the panellists contributed to the discussion by asking questions. Mrs Funke Adekoya, SAN (Director, LCA and Partner, AELEX) and Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN (President, LCA and Partner, Strachan Partners) who were present at the event also gave their views on the topic.
Following the discussion, the LCA-YAN was formally launched and the President of the LCA presented the Advisory Board, Co-chairs and Directors. Mr Tolu Obamuroh explained that the purpose of the group was to provide a platform for members to gain knowledge of the practice of international arbitration and to create opportunities for young practitioners.
The event concluded with a cocktail reception.