Can a Foreign Company that is not registered in Nigeria maintain an action in Nigerian Courts (Part 2)?

This is an update on my previous blog post here

Capacity to sue and be sued is an important aspect of conflict of laws. It connects very well with the issue of access to justice. For example if a foreign company that does business with a Nigerian company cannot sue in Nigeria it can result in injustice, and lead to loss of confidence in doing transactions with parties located in the Nigerian legal system.

Why is the above topic important? Having undertaken further research, it can be said that Nigerian court decisions are not consistent on the issue of capacity of a foreign company to sue and be sued in Nigeria. The latest reported authoritative source from the Nigerian Supreme Court is that by virtue of Section 54 and 55 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 Cap C20 (now Section 78 and 79 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020), a foreign company that carries on business in Nigeria without being registered as a Nigerian company carries out an illegal and void transaction, and thus such a contract cannot be enforced in Nigerian courts.[1] In effect, the provision of Section 60(b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 Cap C20 (now Section 84(b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020) cannot avail the foreign company in granting it the capacity to sue in Nigeria to enforce a contract where it carries on business in Nigeria without registering as a foreign company.[2] It is only where the foreign company that is not registered in Nigeria enters into a contract with a Nigerian company, while not doing business in Nigeria, will such a contract be enforceable in Nigeria.[3] The key word is thus doing business in Nigeria in determining whether a foreign company that is not registered in Nigeria can sue or be sued in Nigeria. This decision has now been confirmed by a very recent Court of Appeal decision, though in the instant case it was held that the foreign company had a Nigerian subsidiary and it was not carrying out business in Nigeria (it was a single transaction), so the contract was enforceable in Nigeria.[4]

Conference Report: The Private Side of Transforming our World – UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Role of Private International Law

The Private Side of Transforming our World
UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030and the Role of Private International Law

September 9-11, 2021, Hamburg, Germany,
Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law

By Madeleine Petersen Weiner and Mai-Lan Tran

The Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law hosted a hybrid conference on the Institute’s premises, and digitally via Zoom, under the above title from September 9-11, 2021, on the occasion of the publication of the nearly 600-page anthology “The Private Side of Transforming our World – UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Role of Private International Law”.

Study Rome II Regulation published

The long-awaited Rome II Study commissioned by the European Commission, evaluating the first ten years of the application of the Rome II Regulation on the applicable law to non-contractual obligations, has been published. It is available here. The Study was coordinated by BIICL and Civic and relies on legal analysis, data collection, a consultation of academics and practitioners, and national reports by rapporteurs from the Member States. The extensive study which also includes the national reports, discusses the scope of the Regulation and the functioning of the main rules, including the location of damages under Art. 4 Rome II, which is problematic in particular in cases of prospectus liability and financial market torts. As many of our readers will know, one of the issues that triggered debate when the Rome II Regulation was negotiated was the infringement of privacy and personality rights, including defamation, which topic was eventually excluded from the Regulation. While it has been simmering in the background and caught the attention of the Parliament earlier on, this topic is definitely back on the agenda with the majority opinion being that an EU conflict of laws rule is necessary.

Three topics that the European Commission had singled out as areas of special interest are: (1) the application of Rome II in cases involving Artificial Intelligence; (2) business and human rights infringements and the application of Art. 4 and – for environmental cases – Art 7; and (3) Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs). For the latter topic, which is currently also studied by an expert group installed by the European Commission, the inclusion of a rule on privacy and personality rights is also pivotal.

Call for Abstracts on Transnational Dispute Resolution in an increasingly digitalized world.

The call for abstracts for the ‘Transnational Dispute Resolution in an Increasingly Digitalized World’ conference is now open until 1 December 2021. This online conference will be hosted by the Center for the Future of Dispute Resolution at Ghent University on Thursday 24 March 2022.

The increased digitalization in the field dispute resolution, which received a boost from the Covid-19 pandemic, raises a number of important questions in terms of privacy, cybersecurity, data protection and artificial intelligence, going from rather practical concerns (how to protect the information exchanged, how to organize the taking of evidence, how to comply with the various obligations, etc.) to more fundamental inquiries (does it scare litigants off, does it foster or rather compromise efficiency, etc.).

The Nigerian Court of Appeal recently revisits the principles for the grant of Mareva Injunction

The focus of this write-up is a brief case note on a recent decision of the Nigerian Court of Appeal (reported two days ago) on Mareva injunction.

The principal concern of a judgment creditor is that it should reap the fruits of the judgment. A judgment is useless or nugatory if the judgment debtor has no assets within the jurisdiction of the court and the judgment debtor is unwilling to comply with the court’s judgment. A prospective judgment debtor could frustrate the administration of justice and commercial effectiveness of a judgment by moving away all its assets from the Nigerian jurisdiction to another jurisdiction. The remedy of a Mareva injunction (or freezing injunction) was developed as a means of curtailing this form of bad litigation tactics by a judgment debtor. In reality, a Mareva injunction is similar to interlocutory and anticipatory injunctions. It is similar to an interlocutory injunction because it is granted pending the determination of the dispute between the parties. It is similar to an anticipatory injunction because it anticipates that there is a real likelihood that a prospective judgment debtor would take its assets out of the court’s jurisdiction in order to frustrate the effectiveness of a judgment.[1]

Service of process on a Russian defendant by e-mail. International treaties on legal assistance in civil and family matters and new technologies

Written by Alexander A. Kostin, Senior Research Fellow at the Private Law Research Centre (Moscow, Russia) and counsel atAvangard law firm

and Valeria Rzyanina, junior associate, Avangard Law Firm

The Decree of the Arbitrazh (Commercial) Court of the Volga District of December 23, 2019 N F06-55840 / 2019 docket numberN A12-20691 / 2019, addresses service of process on the Russian party by the Cypriot court by e-mail and thus the possibility of further recognition of a foreign judgment.

  1. Factual background

Avoidance of the debtor’s transactions within the framework of a foreign insolvency before a Russian court

Written by Alexander A. Kostin, Senior Research Fellow at the Private Law Research Centre (Moscow, Russia) and counsel atAvangard law firm

and Valeria Rzyanina, junior associate, Avangard Law Firm

(This is a synopsis of an article published  in the Herald of Civil Procedure Law Journal N 1/2021 in Russian)

 Issues concerning cross-border insolvency rarely arise in Russian case law. For this reason, the Decree of the Arbitrazh Court of the Moscow District dated 22.11.2018 docket number N A40-39791 / 2018 is of particular interest to both practitioners and academics.

  1. The factual background of case No. ?40-39791 / 2018

A bankruptcy procedure had been introduced at a German court against the Russian individual having the status of an individual entrepreneur under German law. After the opening of this procedure in Germany, the Russian debtor donated an apartment in Moscow to her daughter.

New Principles of Sovereign Immunity from Enforcement in India: The Good, The Bad, And The Uncertain (Part II)

This post was written by Harshal Morwale, an India-qualified international arbitration lawyer working as an associate with a premier Indian law firm in New Delhi; LLM from the MIDS Geneva Program (2019-2020); alumnus of the Hague Academy of International Law. 

Recently, the issue of foreign sovereign immunity became a hot topic in India due to the new judgment of the Delhi High Court (“DHC”) in the case of (KLA Const Tech v. Afghanistan Embassy). The previous part of the blog post analyzed the decision of the DHC.  Further, the post focused on the relevance of the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property. The post also explored the interplay between state immunity and diplomatic immunity.

This part focuses on two further issues which emanate from the decision of the DHC. Firstly, the post deals with the impact of the consent to arbitrate on immunity from enforcement. Then, the post explores the issue of attachment of state’s property for satisfying the commercial arbitral award against a diplomatic mission.

Can a Foreign Company that is not registered in Nigeria maintain an action in Nigerian Courts?

This note briefly analyses the recent decision of the Nigerian Supreme Court in BCE Consulting Engineers v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation[1]on the issue of a foreign company that is not registered in Nigeria having the capacity to sue in Nigeria.

Generally, Section 78 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 requires that a foreign company must be registered in Nigeria before it can carry on business in Nigeria. This provision is a carryover of the former Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, which contains a similar provision.

New Principles of Sovereign Immunity from Enforcement in India: The Good, The Bad, And The Uncertain (Part I)

This post was written by Harshal Morwale, an India-qualified international arbitration lawyer working as an associate with a premier Indian law firm in New Delhi; LLM from the MIDS Geneva Program (2019-2020); alumnus of the Hague Academy of International Law. 

Sovereign immunity from enforcement would undoubtedly be a topic of interest to all the commercial parties contracting with state or state entities. After all, an award is only worth something when you can enforce it. The topic received considerable attention in India recently, when the Delhi High Court (“DHC”) ruled on the question of immunity from enforcement in case of commercial transactions (KLA Const Tech v. Afghanistan Embassy). This ruling is noteworthy because India does not have a consolidated sovereign immunity law, and this ruling is one of the first attempts to examine immunity from enforcement.