School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Harmonizing laws, preventing fragmentation - Meet Abayomi Okubote

PhD Student in Law

By Phil Gaudreau, December 2020

Abayomi Okubote

A key principle of law is its fairness – that the outcome of a case is the result of the balanced position between the parties.

In the international arbitration community, there is a huge debate on the regulation of third-party funding (TPF). The use of third-party funding in these settings is not well studied, and there is a strong demand for research on its likely effects on legislative reform. That’s why Abayomi Okubote is proposing a harmonized framework for the regulation of third-party funding to help ensure judgements do not simply reflect who has the deepest pockets.

“Country-by-country regulation of third-party funding in international arbitration is inadequate because it encourages litigants to move their case to a jurisdiction that would sway the outcomes in their favour, what is known as ‘forum shopping’,” says Okubote, a PhD candidate with Queen’s Law.

Okubote’s PhD thesis provides a comparative analysis of the developments of TPF in different jurisdictions and its implicated problems. He proposes law reform that serves as the basis for a uniform, predictable, and transparent standard on third-party funding in international arbitration. He is developing a model law on TPF which countries can tailor the text to suit their domestic requirements.

Okubote has always had an interest in law, believing in its power to bring about positive developments in society. He began his legal studies in Nigeria and worked as a commercial litigator. Two years later, he continued his studies through a masters in international commercial law at the University College of London.

“England offered a good opportunity to students coming from common law jurisdictions to study law in an international and cross-border context,” says Okubote.

Okubote’s goal was to become an international arbitration practitioner, which meant choosing a top-ranked law school for his PhD. After extensive research in both Canada and England, he came across one of Joshua Karton’s publications.

“After researching multiple publications by Dr. Karton and learning about Queen’s academic reputation and the quality of the research it produces, I made my decision that this was the right place for me,” says Okubote. “Since the start of the program, Dr. Karton has been extremely supportive as my PhD supervisor. I owe him a debt of gratitude for always putting me right on track in my PhD program.”

Once his PhD is complete, Okubote plans to bring his experience back to Africa to improve the local legal system and help improve legal practices.

“My long-term career goal is to become a professor of law and a renowned international arbitration practitioner,” says Okubote.

During the pandemic, apart from working on his thesis, Okubote has been involved in laws reforms and speaking engagements on international arbitration. He was a tutor and faculty member at the Chartered Institute of Arbitration’s International Commercial Arbitration diploma program. He was recently engaged by the Government of Sierra Leone to help review their arbitration legal framework and develop a modern national arbitration law and training of judges.

To learn more about graduate studies options with the Faculty of Law, please visit their website.