1.The respondent filed a Notice of Motion dated June 26, 2023 seeking orders that:1.The Honourable Court be pleased to recognize, adopt and enforce the final arbitral award between parties hereto issued by Kenneth Akide, SC on the June 20, 2023 as a judgment of this Honourable Court and the applicant be granted leave to execute the same as a decree of this Honourable Court being: -a.the claim in prayer 1 of the claimant’s claim being a claim for leave succeeds. However, the same succeeds only for the last six years, 2011-2016 because the Limitation of Actions Act, cap 22 bars all earlier claims: -the computation is reproduced hereunder: -2011- consulting fee set at USD 3,91424 days – USD 3,1312012- consulting fee set at USD 4,11024 days – USD 3,2882013- consulting fee set at USD 4,11024 days – USD 3,2882014- consulting fee set at USD 4,11024 days – USD 3,2882015- consulting fee set at USD 4,11024 days – USD 3,2882016- consulting fee set at USD 4,11024 days – USD 3,288Total: USD 19,571b.The claim for gratuity fails.c.The claim for medical expenses fails.d.An award of damages of USD 24,660 equivalent to 6 months payment based on the last consultancy fee.e.The claim has partially succeeded. It is fair and just that each party shall bear its own costs for this Arbitration.f.The award in (a) and (d) above shall attract interest at 14% from the date of this award.2.The respondent be condemned to pay the Claimant/Applicant’s cost of this Application.
2.The Application is grounded on the applicant’s Affidavit and/ or the grounds on the face of the application.
3.The applicant avers that it participated in the arbitration process with the respondent whose proceedings were carried out by Mr Kenneth Akide SC.
4.The applicant avers that the arbitrator released his award in his favour on June 20, 2023, which he seeks to be adopted by this Court as its judgment.
5.The applicant avers that on November 2, 2022, the claimant’s advocate served them with a hearing notice indicating the matter was scheduled to be heard on January 24, 2023.
Preliminary objection by the respondent
6.In opposition to the Application the respondent filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection and Grounds of Opposition dated July 6, 2023 praying the same be struck out with costs on grounds that:
7.The Application was canvassed by way of Written Submissions.
8.The court considered the respective submissions of the claimant dated January 4, 2023 and respondents’ submissions dated July 31, 2023. The two cover both the Preliminary Objection dated July 6, 2023 and Notice of Motion dated June 26, 2023.
Analysis and Determination
9.The first issue is whether the respondent’s Notice of Preliminary Objection is merited.
11.The applicant submitted that section 37 of the Arbitration Act sets out the grounds for refusal of recognition or enforcement of an arbitral award and grounds 1,2 and 4 of the Notice of Preliminary Objection are not contemplated therein.
13.The Notice of Preliminary Objection clearly does not raise pure points of law but instead raises issues which will require this court to go into the details of the arbitral award to ascertain the respondent’s grounds, therefore, the same is not merited. Indeed, the respondent’s preliminary objection is equivalent to appealing the arbitral award which if respondent is appealing the award the right pleadings should be filed but not by way of a preliminary objection.
15.Similarly, the Grounds of Opposition herein fails to raise only issues of law as it includes averments which would have been addressed in a Replying Affidavit. The grounds of opposition are not merited and are not appropriate in the circumstances.
16.The last issue is whether the Application herein is therefore merited.
17.Section 32A of the Arbitration Act provides that an arbitral award is final and is binding upon the parties. No recourse is provided against a final award otherwise than in the manner provided for in the Act itself.
19.Further, section 37 of the Arbitration Act states grounds for refusal of recognition or enforcement of an arbitral award as follows: -
20.Although, the respondent submits that the arbitral award is erroneous and deals with a dispute not contemplated and falling within the terms of reference to arbitration, it has failed to tender any evidence or proof before this court in support of this.
21.The issues raised concerning the jurisdiction of the court and whether there was an employer/employee relationship in the suit are not matters that should be handled at this stage. They are overtaken by events. The court finds the parties voluntarily submitted themselves for arbitration those issues notwithstanding..
22.Flowing from the pleadings and submissions this court finds the claimant’s Application is merited as provided under section 36 of Arbitration Act.Accordingly the court makes the following orders: -a.That the final award prepared by Mr Kenneth Akide, SC on the June 20, 2023 be and is hereby recognized and adopted as a Judgement of this Court and applicant be granted leave to execute the same as judgment of this honourable court.b.Each party to meet their costs of the application.