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Re-evaluating the Admiralty Jurisdiction of Nigeria's Federal High Court in the Age of Combined Transport Shipping

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2021

Festus O Ukwueze*
Affiliation:
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Herbert A Umezuruike*
Affiliation:
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Dike J Ibegbulem*
Affiliation:
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

Abstract

This article critically examines the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria in relation to claims arising from combined transport shipping. It questions the rationale for the continued circumscription of the court's admiralty jurisdiction to activities on navigable waters based on English law pedigree. It argues that, in the present era of containerization and combined transport shipping, it has become imperative to unshackle Nigerian courts from English antecedents that limit the admiralty jurisdiction of the court to activities on the high seas. The article identifies extant national legislation, a continental instrument and recent judicial authorities that provide the basis for expanding the Federal High Court's admiralty jurisdiction to accommodate the adjudication of claims derived from combined transport shipping beyond the locale of the high seas.

Type
Recent Development
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of SOAS University of London

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Footnotes

*

LLB, LLM, PhD (Nig). Senior lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Corresponding author.

**

LLB, LLM (Nig), PhD (Abuja). Associate professor, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

***

LLB (Ilorin), LLM (Nig). Doctoral researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

References

1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, chap A5.

2 See Olawoyin, AAdmiralty jurisdiction in the Federal Courts of Nigeria: Innovation or incongruity under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act 1991?” (2004) 35/1 Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce 79Google Scholar at 93–95. See the views of Ngwuta JSC in Pacers Multi-Dynamics Ltd v MV Dancing Sisters (2012) ALL FWLR (pt 618) 803 at 831.

3 See the views of Salami JCA in Panalpina World Transport (Nig) Ltd v Glenyork Nigeria Ltd and Another (2009) ALL FWLR (pt 455) 1793.

4 See Bronik Motors Ltd v Wema Bank (1983) 6 SC 158; A Falase-Aluko “New developments in the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Nigeria” (1995) 39/1 Journal of African Law 64 at 66.

5 The Constitution, sec 251(1)(g).

6 Federal High Court Act, sec 7(1)(g).

7 Olaniyan, HAConflict of laws and an enlightened self interest critique of section 20 of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act of Nigeria” (2012) 1 Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies International Journal of Legislative Drafting 50Google Scholar.

8 AJA, sec 1(1)(a)–(c).

9 Id, sec 2(1)–(3).

10 Id, sec 26(1)(c).

11 Olawoyin, AASafeguarding arbitral integrity in Nigeria: Potential conflict between legislative policies and foreign arbitration clauses in bills of lading” (2006) 17/2 The American Review of International Arbitration 269Google Scholar.

12 Act No 1 1926, LFN 2004, chap C2.

13 120 LNTS 187, 51 Stat 233. Adopted on 25 August 1924, the Hague Rules entered into force on 2 February 1931.

14 UNGA A/RES/48/341 (31 March 1978).

15 LFN 2004, chap U18.

16 Hamburg Rules, art 1(6) (emphasis added).

17 Adopted in Geneva, 24 May 1980.

18 Available at: <https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CTC/Ch_XI_D_8.pdf> (last accessed 6 July 2021).

19 See UN Commission on International Trade Law “Status: United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (New York, 2008) (the ‘Rotterdam Rules’)”, available at: <https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/transportgoods/conventions/rotterdam_rules/status> (last accessed 6 July 2021).

20 Nikaki, TBringing multimodal transport law into the new century: Is the uniform liability system the way forward” (2013) 78/1 Journal of Air Law & Commerce 69Google Scholar; Nikaki, T and Soyer, BA new international regime for carriage of goods by sea: Contemporary, certain, inclusive, and efficient, or just another one for the shelves?” (2012) 30 Berkeley Journal of International Law 302Google Scholar at 329.

21 AJA, sec 1(2).

22 [1987] 1 NWLR (pt 51) 475.

23 [1992] 3 NWLR (pt 244) 675.

24 (1981) 5 SC 81.

25 Aluminium Manufacturing, above at note 22 at 477, ratio 8.

26 Petrojessica, above at note 23 at 693.

27 Id at 696.

28 Above at note 3.

29 Id at 1805.

30 Above at note 2.

31 See also the Court of Appeal in Wasa Delmas Nigeria Limited v A & M Minerals Ltd and Others (2018) LPELR-46544.

32 [2004] 9 NWLR (pt 879) 462.

33 [2006] 5 NWLR (pt 972) 127.

34 See D Joseph Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements and Their Enforcement (2005, Sweet & Maxwell) at 3.

35 See D Ogboko “With maritime sector as key enabler, Nigeria aims for top ranking in ease of doing business” (21 January 2020) Business Traffic, available at: <https://businesstraffic.com.ng/with-maritime-sector-as-key-enabler-nigeria-aims-for-top-ranking-in-ease-of-doing-business> (last accessed 6 July 2021).

36 LPELR-47387 (SC).

37 See Sunny Ositez International Nigeria Ltd v Delmas and Others [2015] ALL FWLR (pt 767) 720 CA.

38 C Hill Maritime Law (5th ed, 1998, Lloyd's of London Press) at 192.

39 543 US, 125 S Ct 385.

40 Adopted at the 50th ordinary session of the African Union Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, 26 July 2010.

41 Revised African Maritime Transport Charter, art 2.

42 Id, art 21.

43 See African Union “List of countries which have signed, ratified / acceded to the Revised African Maritime Transport Charter”, available at: <https://au.int/sites/default/files/treaties/7797-sl-REVISED%20AFRICAN%20MARITIME%20TRANSPORT%20CHARTER.pdf> (last accessed 6 July 2021).

44 RI Hardono “A maritime plus or a maritime less convention: An analysis on the legal applicability of the multimodal transportation aspects afforded by the Rotterdam Rules and the Association of South East Asian Nations Framework Agreement on Multimodal Transport” (Thesis for Law, University of Groningen, July 2017) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21778.56000.

45 See Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer “Benefits of combined transport”, available at: <https://uic.org/freight/combined-transport/#Benefits-of-the-Combined-Transport> (last accessed 6 July 2021).

46 LFN 2004, chap C2.

47 See F Monye Commercial Law (2006, Chenglo Ltd) at 288; Anike, NB, Odoh, JC and Nwoke, UConcurrent application of the Hague and Hamburg Rules: Ascertaining the applicable law to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea in Nigeria” (2020) 46/2 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 195CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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