The Overview of Private International Law in Nigeria

Chukwudi Paschal Ojiegbe* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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As an emerging economy, Nigeria attracts foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment as well as commercial parties and sovereign States engaged in private transactions thereby increasing the possibility of cross-border disputes, which would often require the use of private international law (“PIL”) principles to resolve them.1 PIL concerns relationships involving foreign elements that transcend national boundaries. It determines issues of jurisdiction, choice of law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions as well as issues that may arise when foreign private laws interact with the laws of the forum in which legal action is brought in matters of civil and commercial law or family law. In Nigeria, the significance of PIL is seen not only in international transactions involving foreign elements but also within inter-State transactions and disputes as Nigeria is a federation consisting of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, with a separate jurisdiction and laws for each State’s courts as established in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Indeed, as Nigeria is a federation, the same general PIL approach used in international matters should equally apply to intra-State matters. However, some Nigerian lawyers, academics and judges often seem to struggle with the concept of PIL: for example, in some cases, Nigerian judges have applied PIL principles to resolve Nigerian disputes that do not contain any foreign elements or involve intra-State matters.2
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-618
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Private International Law
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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