Fidelis Oditah, is a Queen’s Counsel, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Professor of Law at Oxford University. Fidelis practises as a QC at 3/4 South Square, London and at ODITAH, Legal Practitioners & Arbitrators, in Lagos, Nigeria. His extensive practice area has included Company Law, Capital Markets, Corporate Finance, Asset-based financing, Projects, Financial Services, Banking and Commercial Arbitration. This first class scholar and an alumnus of the Universities of Lagos and Oxford, United Kingdom, has an extensive legal practice in Nigeria and UK. In England, he specialises in chancery and commercial work, with emphasis on insolvency and restructuring work. He has acted and/or advised on virtually all major corporate insolvencies in the UK in the last two decades.
In Nigeria, his practice encompasses energy, projects, corporate and general commercial law. He has advised and acted for the Federal Government of Nigeria in a number of the most significant energy and power matters, and for many large and medium sized companies. He has extensive commercial arbitration practice as counsel and also sits frequently as an arbitrator in a broad range of commercial disputes. He began his legal career at Oxford University, England in 1989 where he taught corporate finance, corporate insolvency, company law, contracts and trusts for many years before going into full time commercial practice.
Born in Nigeria on 27 March, 1964, the son of a Head Teacher, Fidelis graduated at the age of 20 from the University of Lagos with a first-class law degree and scooped 12 of the 13 prize awards. The following year he graduated with the highest first-class honours awarded by the Nigerian Law School in 1985. Between 1985 and 1986 he undertook his National Youth Service Scheme at the Nigerian Law School where he engaged as a lecturer until August 1986. In September of he came to study at Magdalen College, Oxford University with the benefit of a Commonwealth Scholarship. At Oxford, Fidelis obtained a Bachelor of Civil Law in 1987 and a Doctor of Philosophy of Law in 1989, completing his thesis in just two years.
He was called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in July 1992, did pupillage from January to December 1993 and took silk in April 2003, at the age of 39 and after a mere 10 years at the Bar of England and Wales. In 2004 he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He also served as a consultant to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law from 1995 until 1999 and he is President of the African Users Council of The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), a member of court (governing council) of the LCIA, a member of the Board of Trustees of Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy (FIAA).
He is the author of many books and learned articles in periodical journals, but his best known publication is probably Legal Aspects of Receivables Financing, published in 1991, a leading text in its field, which is an expanded version of his doctoral thesis. He was also the founding editor of Company, Financial and Insolvency Law Review. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Insolvency Lawyer, a member of the Chancery and Commercial Bar Associations and was a member of the Financial Law Panel Working Group on E-Commerce between 1999 and 2002.
Fidelis was a Fellow and Tutor in Law at Merton College, Oxford and Travers Smith Braithwaite Lecturer in Corporate Finance Law at Oxford from 1989 until 1997. He resigned in order to practise full-time at the Bar. However, he remains a visiting professor at the Oxford University Faculty of Law. Chambers 2002-2003 edition described him as having a “huge brain” and that “what he doesn’t know is probably not worth knowing”.
In an article in Nigerian Village Square, published in 2006, author Eugene Uzum looked back to Fidelis’ graduation day at the University of Lagos and described him as a “softly-spoken and unassuming encyclopedia of law, jokingly referred to as Fidelism.”
Fidelis is married with children.