Author: Adewale A. Olawoyin*
Published: December 2007
Categories of Disputes
I. SETTING THE SCENE
The world economic order has recently witnessed an unparalleled explosion of global trade and investment opportunities. On the heels of such activity, international commercial disputes inexorably follow. In commercial relationships, particularly those with an international dimension or element, disagreements assume added complexity as there are manifold fora competing to be the situs for the resolution of such disputes.
The selection of the venue for the resolution of a potential dispute is normally influenced by the parties to a contract in any number of ways. Some of the methods involve actions taken prior to litigation by an ex ante inclusion of a foreign jurisdiction clause in the contract, identifying the courts of a particular country as having exclusive or non-exclusive jurisdiction to entertain any disputes arising from such contracts. This would normally be the preferred forum of one of the parties. Other methods involve actions that may be taken after the existence of a dispute or the accrual of a cause of action, in some cases after the commencement of litigation. It is not uncommon for a party to seek to persuade a court that it is an inconvenient or inappropriate forum to resolve the dispute. Instituting an action in derogation of an agreed forum is another means of influencing the forum for the resolution of disputes arising from international commercial contracts.
*LL.B. (Hons.) Ife; LLM (London); Ph.D. (Bristol); Senior Lecturer, Department of Commercial & Industrial Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria.