Arbitration Act, 2022
Act 18 of 2022
- Published in Sierra Leone Gazette 68 on 22 September 2022
- Assented to on 6 September 2022
- Commenced on 22 September 2022
- [This is the version of this document from 22 September 2022.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"appointing authority" means a person or authority including the Centre in whom parties to an arbitration agreement vest power to take an action for or on behalf of the parties in relation to the arbitration;"arbitral tribunal" means a panel of unbiased adjudicators which is convened and sits to resolve a dispute by way of arbitration, and may consist of a sole arbitrator or two or more arbitrators including a Chairman or an umpire;"arbitration" means a commercial arbitration whether or not administered by a permanent arbitral institution;"arbitration agreement" means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not and may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement;"available arbitral process" includes a process of appeal to or review by an arbitral or other institution or person vested by the parties with powers in relation to that matter;"award" means a decision of the tribunal on the substance of the dispute and includes final, interim, partial award and award on costs or interest;"Centre" means the Sierra Leone International Arbitration Centre established under section 82;"claimant" includes a counter-claimant and related expressions shall be construed accordingly;"commercial" means matters arising from all relationships of a commercial nature including trade transactions for the supply or exchange of goods or services, distribution agreement, commercial representation or agency, factoring, leasing, construction of works, constructing, engineering licensing, investment, financing, banking, insurance, exploitation, agreement or concession joint venture and other forms of industrial or business co-operation, carriage of goods or passengers by air, sea, rail, or road;"costs" includes—(a)fees of the arbitral tribunal stated separately as to each arbitrator and fixed by the tribunal itself;(b)reasonable travel and other expenses incurred by the arbitrators;(c)reasonable costs of expert advice and of other assistance required by the arbitral tribunal;(d)reasonable travel and other expenses of witnesses to the extent approved by the arbitral tribunal;(e)legal and other costs incurred by the parties in relation to the arbitration that the arbitral tribunal determines reasonable;"Court" means the High Court save that, for the purposes of appointment of an emergency arbitrator, "court" means the Chief Justice sitting as a Judge in Chamber;"data message" means information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, magnetic, optical or similar means, including, electronic data interchange, electronic mail, telegram, telex or telecopy;"dispute" includes difference or disagreement which has arisen or which may arise between parties in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not;"domestic arbitration" means an arbitration which is not an international arbitration;"electronic communication" means communication by means of data messages made by the parties;"ICSID Convention" means the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nations of other States 1966, to which Sierra Leone became a party on 14th October 1966;"international arbitration" means an arbitration where—(a)at least one of the parties to an arbitration agreement, at the time of the conclusion of that agreement, has its place of business in a State other than Sierra Leone;(b)the parties have their place of business in Sierra Leone and one of the following is situated in another State—(i)the seat of arbitration, if determined in or pursuant to the arbitration agreement;(ii)a place where a substantial part of the obligations of a commercial relationship is to be performed or the place with which the subject-matter of the dispute is most closely connected; or(iii)the parties have expressly agreed that the subject-matter of the arbitration agreement relates to more than one State;"legal proceedings" means proceedings in the High Court;"New York Convention" means the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards 1958;"party" means a party to an arbitration agreement or a person claiming through or under that party and "parties" shall be construed accordingly;"peremptory order" means an order prescribing time for compliance by a party, with an order or direction of the tribunal made under paragraphs (c), (d), (e) of subsection (3) of section 51 and subsections (1) and (3) of section 53, or made in exercise of a corresponding power conferred by the parties;"place of business" means, in the case of a party who—(a)has more than one place of business, that which has the closest relationship to the arbitration agreement; and(b)does not have a place of business, the party's habitual residence;"premises" includes land, buildings, moveable structures, vehicles, vessels, aircraft and hovercraft;"public holiday" includes a day listed as a public holiday in the schedule to the Public Holidays Act, Cap. 58 of the Laws of Sierra Leone;"seat of arbitration" means the juridical seat of an arbitration for purposes of determination of the law that will govern the arbitration proceedings;"Third-Party Funder" means a natural or legal person who is not a party to a dispute but who enters into an agreement either with a disputing party, an affiliate of that party or a law firm representing that party, in order to finance part or all of the cost of the proceedings, either individually or as part of a selected range of cases and such financing is provided either through a donation or grant or in return for reimbursement dependent on the outcome of the dispute or in return for a premium payment;"Third-Party Funding Agreement" means a contract between a Third-Party Funder and a disputing party, an affiliate of that party or a law firm representing that party, in order to finance part or all of the costs of the proceedings, either individually or as part of a selected range of cases, and such financing is provided either through a donation or grant or in return for reimbursement dependent on the outcome of the dispute or in return for a premium payment.
2. Application of Act
3. Application of Limitation Act, 1961
4. Guiding principlesThe application and construction of this Act shall be based on the following guiding principles—
Part II – Arbitration agreement
5. Arbitration agreement shall be in writing
6. Separability of arbitration argeementsUnless otherwise agreed by the parties, an arbitration agreement which forms or was intended to form part of another agreement, shall be treated as a distinct agreement, whether in writing or not, shall not be regarded as invalid, non-existent or ineffective because that other agreement is invalid, did not come into existence or has become ineffective.
7. Death of a party
8. Seat and place of arbitration
Part III – Pre-Arbitral proceedings
9. Stay of proceedings on substantive claim
10. Retention of security where proceedings are stayed
11. Request for interim protection measureIt is not incompatible with an arbitration agreement for a party to request, before or during arbitral proceedings, an interim measure of protection from a Court and for a Court to grant such measure.
Part IV – Composition of arbitral tribunal
12. Number of arbitrators
13. Appointment of arbitrators
14. Arbitrator to be an individualOnly an individual may act as an arbitrator.
15. Failure of appointment procedure
16. Presiding arbitrator
17. Grounds for challenge
18. Filling of vacancy, etc.
19. Resignation of arbitrator
20. Death of arbitrator or person appointing him
21. Immunity of arbitrator
22. Challenge of appointment procedure
Part V – Commencement of arbitration
23. Notice of Arbitration
24. Response to Notice or Arbitration
25. Transmission of notice and calculating period of time
26. Extension of time for beginning arbitral proceedings
Part VI – Jurisdiction of arbitral tribunal
27. Competence of arbitral tribunal to rule on its own jurisdiction
Part VII – Emergency arbitrator, interim measures and preliminary orders
28. Appointment of emergency arbitrator
29. Challenge of emergency arbitrator
30. Seat of emergency relief proceedings
31. Interim measures
32. Conditions for granting interim measures
33. Preliminary orders
34. Specific regime for preliminary orders
35. Modification, suspension, terminationAn arbitral tribunal may modify, suspend or terminate an interim measure or a preliminary order it has granted, upon application of a party or, in exceptional circumstances, upon prior notice to the parties on the arbitral tribunal's initiative.
36. Provision of securityAn arbitral tribunal may require a party—
38. Costs and damagesA party requesting an interim measure or applying for a preliminary order shall be liable for costs and damages caused by the measure or the order to a party if the arbitral tribunal later determines that, in the circumstances, the measure or the order should not have been granted and the arbitral tribunal may award such costs and damages at any point during the arbitral proceedings.
39. Recognition and enforcement of interim measure
40. Grounds for refusing recognition and enforcement of interim measure
41. Court interim measure
Part VIII – Conduct of arbitral proceedings
42. General duty of arbitral tribunal
43. Procedural and evidential matter
44. Consolidation of proceedings and concurrent hearings
45. Legal or other representationUnless otherwise agreed by the parties, a party to arbitral proceedings may be represented in the proceedings by a lawyer or other person chosen by that party.
46. General duties of parties
47. Arbitration management conference
48. Language of arbitral proceedings
49. Hearings and written proceedings
51. Default of a party
52. Expert appointed by arbitral tribunal
Part IX – Powers of Court in relation to arbitration proceedings
53. Enforcement or peremptory orders of arbitral tribunal
54. Securing attendance of witnesses
55. Court powers exercisable in support of arbitral proceedings
Part X – Making of award and termination of proceedings
56. Rules applicable to substance of dispute
57. Decision-making by panel of arbitratorsIn an arbitral proceeding with more than one arbitrator, a decision of the arbitral tribunal shall be made, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, by a majority of all its members and questions procedure may be decided by a presiding arbitrator; if so authorised by the parties or all members of the arbitral tribunal.
59. Form and contents of award
60. Termination of proceedings
61. Correction and interpretation of award and additional award
62. Fees and expenses of arbitrators
Part XI – Challenging the award
63. Application for setting side arbitral award
64. Directions relating to setting aside awardThe Court may, where it makes an order setting aside an arbitral award or a part thereof under section 63, taking into account the grounds on which the award or the relevant part thereof has been set aside, give such other directions as it considers appropriate, including directions relating to—
Part XII – Recognition and enforcement of awards
65. Recognition and enforcement of awards
66. Refusal of recognition or enforcement of awards
67. Application of New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards
Part XIII – Enforcement of ICSID Convention awards
68. Enforcement of ICSID Convention awards
69. Non-application of this Act to ICSID Convention awardsThe ICSID Convention shall not apply to Parts I-XIII and XV-XVII of this Act.
70. Status, immunities and privileges conferred by ICSID Convention
71. Government contribution to expenses under ConventionThe Ministry of Finance may discharge out of money provided by Parliament, obligations of the Government arising under Article 17 of the ICSID Convention, which obliges the Contracting States to meet any deficit of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and any sums required for that purpose.
Part XIV – Costs of arbitration
72. Costs of arbitration
73. Deposit of costs
74. Security for costs
75. Joint and several liabilities for arbitrator's fees and expenses
76. Lien on award
77. Recoverable fees and expenses of arbitrators
78. Power to limit recoverable costs
Part XV – Third party funding
79. Abolition of maintenance and champerty
80. Disclosure of third-party funding agreement
Part XVI – Additional provisions relating to International Commercial Arbitration
81. Recognition and enforcement of foreign awards, etc.The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Chapter 21 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960, shall continue to apply in relation to foreign awards which are not enforceable under the New York Convention.
Part XVII – Sierra Leone International Arbitration Centre
82. Sierra Leone International Arbitration Centre
83. Administration of Centre
84. Funds of Centre
85. Register of Arbitrators
86. Independence of CentreThe Centre shall act with complete independence in carrying out its functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities under this Act and shall not be subject to the direction or control of Government or any other person or authority.
Part XVIII – Miscellaneous
87. Rights of person who takes no part in proceedings
88. Loss of right to object
89. Immunity of arbitral institutions, etc.
90. Service of notices and other documents
91. Reckoning periods of time
92. Extension of time limits relating to arbitral proceedings
93. Matters governed by common lawNothing in this Act shall be construed as excluding the operation of any rule of law consistent with this Act, in particular, any rule of law as to—
94. Repeal and savings
95. Waiver of right to objectA party who knows that a provision of this Act from which the parties may derogate or a requirement under an arbitration agreement has not been complied with and yet proceeds with the arbitration without stating his objection to such non-compliance without undue delay or, if a time-limit is provided therefor, within such period of time, shall be deemed to have waived his right to object
96. Extent of application of this Act to arbitrationThis Act shall not affect any other law by virtue of which certain disputes—
97. Extension of timeNotwithstanding the provisions of this Act, an arbitral tribunal may, if it considers it necessary, extend the time specified for the performance of an act under this Act.
98. Rules applicable to domestic arbitration
History of this document
22 September 2022 this version
06 September 2022