In AIC Limited v The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria [2019] EWHC 2212, the English High Court adjourned an application made by AIC Limited ("AIC"), a Nigerian construction and property development company, to enforce a Nigerian arbitral award pursuant to the New York Convention worth approximately US$123 million (including accrued interest) made in its favour against the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ("FAAN").  The reason for the stay in enforcement was to allow the outcome of long-running court proceedings in Nigeria, concerning the validity of the original arbitral award.

Veronique Buehrlen QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) said that although the award lay "towards the 'manifestly valid' i.e. top end of the scale, in which significant further delay [was] likely to ensue and in which some element of prejudice to AIC will result from a continuing delay in enforcement", that had to be balanced against other factors.  They included, in particular, the fact that the award had been set aside on the only occasion that the Nigerian application had been considered on its merits by the Nigerian courts (albeit that such order no longer stood), and the fact that it was "important to avoid conflicting judgments".  Further, she considered that the factors militating against such an adjournment could be addressed by the provision of security, which she awarded in the sum of approximately US$24 million (equivalent to half of the original award, or just under three years' worth of accrued interest on it).

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Published Date: September 30, 2019

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