The Federal Republic of Nigeria (applicant) v Zhongsan Fucheng Industrial Investment Co Ltd (respondent)

Wednesday 28 June 2023

This is the hearing of two applications made by the Defendant (“Nigeria”): the first an application to re-open a failed permission to appeal application pursuant to CPR 52.30; and, should the CPR 52.30 application be successful, the resurrected PTA application itself.

On 21 December 2021, an ex parte order for enforcement of an arbitration award, dated 21 March 2021, was made against the defendant, the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The value of the award was over $65 million, and £2.88 million. The order contained the following provision:

“This order having been made without notice to the Defendant, the Defendant has the right to apply to set aside or vary this Order, if so advised, within two months and 14 days of the date on which this Order is served on the Defendant.”

The provision is a change from the standard order on enforcement which allows 14 days. In this case, the longer period was allowed because of the provisions of section 12(2) of the State Immunity Act 1978.

No such application was made within that period. Instead, the defendant applied on 15 November 2022 to vary the order, 30 days after the time deadline in the enforcement order, which was calculated by reference to service. The position was that an application to set aside was still not ready to be made and a further three months was sought to make such an application, amounting to an extension of some six months on top of the period given by the order made.

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