Women in Business: Dorothy Udeme Ufot (SAN)
Dorothy Ufot is the founding partner of the leading Nigerian firm Dorothy Ufot & Co (established in 1994) where she heads the international arbitration and litigation departments of the firm. She recently won the 2020 African Arbitrator of the Year award.
Dorothy specialises in international arbitration, litigation and other forms of dispute resolution, including investment treaty arbitration, enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, investment consulting, corporate and commercial law.
In 2009, she was elevated to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) (equivalent to Queen’s Counsel), in recognition of her vast work in commercial litigation.
Ufot is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) (CIARB) and a chartered arbitrator. She is a former member of the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Paris (2006-2018), and a member of the Court of Arbitration of the Casablanca International Mediation and Arbitration Centre Morocco (2016).
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Dorothy was designated to serve a six-year term on the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in February 2017. She is currently on her third ICSID case, pursuant to her appointment as a member of the panel of arbitrators by ICSID.
She is a former global vice president of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, and a member of the council of the ICC Institute of World Business Law in 2016. She is vice chair of the arbitration and ADR commission of ICC Nigeria and the treasurer of ICC’S Nigeria committee.
Ufot is on the panels of arbitrators for the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, CIARB, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, the Lagos Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration and the Energy Arbitrator’s List.
A former vice chair of the arbitration committee of the International Bar Association (IBA), Dorothy served as a council member of the IBA’S legal practice division (2006–2010) and a member of its nominations committee for two terms (2012–2016). She is a member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Arbitralwomen, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration and several other professional associations.
She has acted as an arbitrator in several complex, high-volume arbitrations in oil and gas, international construction projects, international supply contracts, infrastructure development, telecommunications and financial services.
Dorothy is currently sitting as a co-arbitrator in a US$3.2 billion oil dispute in respect of some strategic alliance agreements involving the Nigerian state oil entity. She has also recently been appointed as sole arbitrator by the LCIA, the Regional Centre for Commercial Arbitration Lagos and DIAC, in ongoing arbitrations.
Ufot is experienced in court proceedings relating to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, having recently sought and obtained orders for the recognition and enforcement of two high-volume foreign arbitral awards at the Federal High Court Lagos, Nigeria. She is currently enforcing a multimillion-dollar foreign arbitral award in Nigeria, and represents one of the big banks in Nigeria in two high-volume and highly contentious litigations in respect of the bank’s shares.
She has served as a member of the governing council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and chair of its rules and adjudication committee; and as non-executive director of several companies, including Chevron Oil Nigeria and MRS Oil Nigeria.
Ufot serves as a non-executive director of SO&U Limited (one of Nigeria’s premier advertising and media relations companies), and Dangote Cement (Africa’s largest cement producer) as its first female non-executive director.
She has extensive experience as counsel and arbitrator in institutional and ad hoc arbitrations relating to oil and gas; energy; international construction projects; dredging contracts; infrastructure developments projects; joint venture agreements; telecommunications; international supply contracts; and financial services, having been appointed by major multinational oil corporations, the Nigerian state oil entity, state governments, federal government agencies and large and medium-sized public and private companies.