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Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR SAN

Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR SAN

J-K Gadzama LLPPlot 1805, Damaturu CrescentGarki 2AbujaNigeriaPO Box 203

National Leader

Nigeria - Arbitration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR SAN has over 30 years’ experience in the field, giving him expansive knowledge of arbitration matters and proceedings.


Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR, MFR, SAN, FNIALS, FICMC, DiplCIArb, FCIArb, CArb, is the founding principal partner of J-K Gadzama LLP. He is a seasoned litigation and commercial lawyer, an internationally respected arbitrator, a scholar, a life bencher and a publisher. Born on 28 November 1961 in Mubi, Adamawa state, he hails from Lassa in Askira/Uba, a local government area of Borno State in Nigeria. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1986, and the Bar of England and Wales (Lincoln’s Inn) in 2008. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1998 (the first among the 1986 set of the Nigerian Law School).

Chief Gadzama was recognised by Intercontinental Finance Magazine in 2015 as one of the 500 best lawyers in the world. His expert opinion on the nature of damages recoverable under Nigerian law by the family of a victim in a fatal plane crash was sought in Toulouse, France, before the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Toulouse in 2015.

He was chair of the National Working Group on Domestication of the Rome Statute in Nigeria. He is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Abuja as a capital market consultant and member of the Capital Market Solicitors’ Association. He was a partner of the legal advisory partnership consortium, comprising foreign and local lawyers, charged with the responsibility to provide legal services to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, a programme sponsored by the World Bank.

Chief Gadzama has acted as board member of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Diamond Pension Fund Custodian and the University of Benin in Nigeria. He has also served as chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) (Abuja chapter); pioneer chairman of the Association of CEDR-Accredited Mediators of Nigeria; pioneer board member of the Lagos Court of Arbitration; and member of the governing board of the Abuja Multi-Door Court ADR centre. He was chair of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) (Abuja Branch) and pioneer chair of the, NBA section on public interest and development law.

He is a member of the panel of international arbitrators at the Kigali International Arbitration Centre; the taskforce on maximising the probative value of witness evidence at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) commission on arbitration and ADR; the ICC’s Africa commission; the London Court of International Arbitration; the International Council for Commercial Arbitration; the American Arbitration Association; the African Arbitration Association; the governing council of the Dispute Resolution Centre of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration in Lagos; the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in England; and the Mauritius International Arbitration Centre. He is also a member of the panels of neutrals at the ADR centres of the Abuja and Lagos Multi-Door Courts, as well as the founder, and chair of the board of trustees, Janada International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation, a frontline arbitration and ADR centre in Abuja.

Chief Gadzama has participated as presiding arbitrator, party nominated arbitrator, sole arbitrator and lead counsel in several landmark commercial arbitration matters. He is a certified mediator and a negotiator. He has presented papers at various conferences on arbitration.

Chief Gadzama holds an LLB from the prestigious University of Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria (1985), where he was named as the best common-law graduating student. He also has a diploma in international commercial arbitration from Keble College at Oxford University (2006). He studied public-private partnerships at the Institute of Public-Private Partnerships in the US, and regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2010). He is a chartered arbitrator and fellow of CIArb; fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. He has also been honoured nationally as a both an Officer and a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, in recognition of his meritorious service to the nation.

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