Following the decline of admiralty law practice in Nigeria attributed to sub-optimal procedural rules and poor judicial interpretation of substantive laws, the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) has inaugurated a 16-member committee to boost the practice in Nigeria.
The Committee is expected to propose initiatives and implementation strategies for repositioning admiralty law practice, boost industry confidence, and dispute resolution efficiency for Admiralty law and practice.
NMLA revealed this in a press statement yesterday which indicated that the committee would be chaired by Barr. Emmanuel Nwagbara and Barr. Jean-Chiazor Anishere.
Other members of the committee known as ‘Nigeria Admiralty Law and Procedure Reform Committee’ include; Mrs. Omolola Ikwuagwu, Mr. Nelson Otaji, Ms. Chisa Uba, Mr. Babatunde Ogungbamila, Sir Adolphus Nwachukwu, Mr. Adedoyin Afun, Dr. Echefu Ukattah, Mr. Nonso Azih, Mr. Olukayode Dada and Ms. Kashimana Tsumba
The team also has four Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) as Advisory Members; they are, Prof. Gbolahan Elias (SAN), Mr. Dolapo Akinrele (SAN), Dr. Wale Olawoyin (SAN) and Mr. Olumide Sofowora (SAN),
According to the report, the Committee is tasked with achieving speed in filing, assignment, hearing and determination of admiralty matters, implementation of a modern fit-for purpose Admiralty Registry, review of procedural rules, in particular – Admiralty Jurisdiction Procedure Rules and Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules.
Other areas include; reform of substantive law, in particular – 1999 Constitution, Admiralty Jurisdiction Act and Federal High Court Act
The Committee is expected to commence work immediately and submit its report by the 25th of May 2020.
The NMLA statement which revealed this, was signed by the Association’s President, Mr. Chidi Ilogu (SAN) and the NMLA Honorary Secretary, Mr. Emeka Akabogu, and made available to MMS Plus yesterday.
Noting that judicial decisions have not been consistent with standard global expectations and absence of speed in admiralty litigation has seen a number of significant maritime interests jettisoning Nigeria as a jurisdiction for adjudication of their disputes, the Association anticipate s that the committee would correct the unfortunate trend.