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Mishcon de Reya acts for the Federal Republic of Nigeria to set aside $11 billion arbitration award following landmark ruling finding the award was procured by fraud

Posted on 21 December 2023

Following the English Court's landmark judgment on 23 October 2023 confirming that Nigeria had been successful in challenging the colossal $11 billion award made against it, at a hearing on Friday, 8 December 2023, the Judge Mr Justice Knowles CBE ruled that the award, which had been obtained by P&ID "only by practising the most severe abuses of the arbitral process", be set aside. Having reserved his judgment on P&ID's permission to appeal application at the hearing, Mr Justice Knowles CBE has today handed down his ruling refusing P&ID permission to appeal. With no further recourse available to P&ID, this decision finally brings an end to over a decade of legal action. 

Recognising the lengths that Nigeria has been forced to go to in setting aside the US$11 billion award, the English Court has ordered P&ID to make an interim costs payment to Nigeria in the amount of £20 million within 28 days. Sir Robin Knowles CBE refused P&ID's request to discount 20% of Nigeria's costs on the basis that certain of the claims should not have been brought, ordering instead that Nigeria was entitled to seek recovery of 100% of its costs, and stating that he expected Nigeria's overall costs recovery to be "very high".

A spokesperson for the Federal Republic of Nigeria stated:

"This decision marks the conclusion of a historic victory for the people of Nigeria who after more than a decade of legal action, are now free from the fraud perpetrated by P&ID. With permission to appeal having been refused, no further recourse is available to P&ID and so the Nigerian people can have final confirmation that justice has been served. Today’s decision has drawn a final end to this saga, and will also serve as an important message to those individuals or entities who would seek to defraud the people of Nigeria.

"This result could not have been achieved without the tenacity and tireless efforts of the legal team who have persistently worked to obtain this outcome on behalf of Nigeria – led by partners Shaistah Akhtar, Andrew Short and Zachary Segal of Mishcon de Reya, and the English Counsel team led by Mark Howard KC and Philip Riches KC."

Shaistah Akhtar led the Mishcon de Reya team alongside Partners Andrew Short and Zachary Segal, supported by Managing Associate Lydia Allaby and Associates Sophia Louw, Holly Edmond, Himaansu Servansingh, Connor Morrison and Sharvani Jeya Putra.   

Instructed by Mishcon de Reya, the Counsel team was led by Mark Howard KC (Brick Court Chambers), supported by Philip Riches KC (Twenty Essex Chambers), Tom Ford (Essex Court Chambers), Tom Pascoe (Brick Court Chambers) and Sebastian Mellab (Essex Court Chambers).

Related coverage

Global Arbitration Review
Commercial Dispute Resolution
The Law Society Gazette

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