The Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) introduced its Adjudication Rules on 9th December 2020. The Rules provide a framework for resolving disputes that arise in long-term construction contracts, where parties may wish to obtain interim binding decisions during their commercial relationship.

Adjudication is a formal, private process where an adjudicator resolves construction-related disputes. It is designed to produce a cash-flow remedy during a project’s life-cycle by avoiding the problem of long-running arbitration or litigation, which keeps one party out of its money while funding expensive legal costs to recover the money.

We discuss key features of the LACIAC Adjudication Rules below.

Object & Administration of Adjudication – Article 1

LACIAC administers adjudication under the Rules. As to the conduct of the proceedings, the Rules designate a sole Adjudicator, whose decision has interim binding effect. The policy has been described as “pay first, argue later” (Tally Wiejl (UK) Ltd v Pegram Shopfitters Ltd (2003) 1 WLR 2990). This is because the adjudicator’s decision binds the parties until it is finally determined through litigation, arbitration, or the parties’ agreement. The parties may also agree to accept the adjudicator’s decision as a final determination of the dispute.

A dispute must have crystallised to trigger the adjudication process. To that end, the Rules clarify that a dispute arises where a party or parties to whom:

[…] any disputed claim or assertion or any claim or assertion […] has been communicated [does not accept it] within a reasonable time [The claim or assertion must arise] out of or in connection with the [parties’] contract or other commercial relationship.

The Adjudication Process – Articles 2, 3 and 4.

Once a dispute is to proceed down the adjudication route, there are five distinct stages under the Rules.

1.  Notice of Adjudication

The Referring Party informs every other party to the contract (Responding Party) that a dispute has been referred to adjudication through a Notice of Adjudication. The Referring Party must serve the Notice on each Responding Party and the LACIAC Secretariat. Care should be taken to ensure that the Notice is served in accordance with any contractual requirements. 

Article 2(4) prescribes the contents of a Notice of Adjudication. A Referring Party should take care when drafting the Notice because:


The matters stated in the Notice of Adjudication limit the adjudicator’s jurisdiction.


The Rules do not provide an opportunity to amend the Notice during the adjuidcation.


There are no provisions in the Rules to rectify any errors in the Notice.

2.  The Adjudicator’s Appointment

The Rules confer autonomy on the parties to agree on the adjudicator’s appointment. Failing such an agreement, the LACIAC Court appoints the adjudicator no later than 14 days after the Referring Party serves the Notice of Adjudication. The LACIAC Secretariat will give the parties written notice of the Court’s appointment.

Unless the parties agree, there must be no conflict of interest between the adjudicator and the parties.

3.  The Referral

The Referring Party must, within 7 days after it receives notice of the adjudicator’s appointment, serve its written referral submissions (the Referral Submissions) on each Responding Party and the adjudicator, with a copy to the LACIAC Secretariat.

The Referral Submission is the equivalent of the statement of claim in arbitration or litigation. However, the purpose and nature of a Referral Submission differ from a statement of claim. Unlike in arbitration or litigation, there may not be an oral hearing where the adjudicator can clarify any unclear matters or hear oral evidence.

The Referring Party has the burden of proof of establishing its claim (on the balance of probabilities). To that end, the Referral Submissions may be the only document in which the Referring Party sets out its case and makes submissions to the adjudicator. The Referral Submissions should, therefore, be clearly and carefully drafted.

4.  The Response

After receiving the Referral Submissions, each Responding Party has 14 days (or such other time as the adjudicator directs) to serve its Response Submissions on the Referring Party and the adjudicator, with a copy to the LACIAC Secretariat.

As with the Referral Submissions, the Response may be the Responding Party’s only opportunity to set out its reply to the Referring Party’s case and make submissions to the adjudicator. Therefore, the Responding Party should begin to prepare its response and supporting evidence as soon as it looks likely that the parties will not resolve the dispute.

5.  The Decision

The adjudicator must decide the dispute within 28 days of the Referral Submissions. The parties can agree to a longer period after the referral of the dispute.

Article 4(3) sets out the minimum requirements for the adjudicator’s decision. It must:


Be in writing.


State the dispute referred to the adjudicator.


Record admissions of any party during the adjudication (not otherwise recorded in writing).


State the total amount of the adjudicator’s fees and expenses, and LACIAC’s charges.


State the total amount of the adjudicator’s fees and expenses, and LACIAC’s charges.

Other Notable Provisions

Joinder & Consolidation

Where the parties and the adjudicator agree, the adjudicator may simultaneously adjudicate multiple disputes arising from the same contract or related disputes under different contracts. A party may also request the joinder of additional parties, subject to the adjudicator’s decision and the existing and additional parties’ agreement.

Possibility of Remote Proceedings

The Rules allow the Referring Party to initiate adjudication through LACIAC’s Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) portal. The parties’ agreement to adjudicate under LACIAC’s Rules entails a corresponding agreement to adjudicate through the ODR portal (if the Referring Party chooses that option).

If you have any questions about the LACIAC Adjudication Rules or how we can assist you in adjudication proceedings, please reach out to the contacts below.

Isaiah Bozimo

Isaiah Bozimo


Christopher Awodimila

Christopher Awodimila


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