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Steve Nwabueze

Expert, Sports Law


  • Law-Arbitration
  • Employment law
  • Commercial Litigation & Sports law



Steve is a Senior Associate in Perchstone and Graeys LP, a top commercial law firm in Lagos, Nigeria. He leads the sports law practice division of the firm. Steve is currently a member of the Sports Law Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA). He speaks on sports law, law- arbitration, employment law and commercial law.  

Steve Austin Nwabueze is a Senior Associate in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department of Perchstone and Graeys LP, a top commercial law firm in Lagos. He was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2009. He is renowned by his colleagues and peers for the depth of his knowledge of the law and has, throughout his career, demonstrated capacity in a string of notable areas of law.

Throughout his rather eventful career, Steve has been opportune to develop competence in various specialized fields, including Arbitration, Corporate Practice, Maritime, Chieftaincy, Election Petition, and Intellectual Property. He has, however, made remarkable inroads into the sports law practice.

Educational qualification

  • B.A (Philosophy) – University Nigeria
  • LL.B (Nigeria) – University of Nigeria
  • B.L – Nigeria Law School

Key achievements in the last decade

  • In one of the most robustly contested IP Litigation, I successfully defended the interest of a client who was sued in an action for passing off, attempting to pass off, causing, enabling or assisting others to pass off bottled table water not of the plaintiffs’ manufacture or merchandise as and for the goods of the plaintiffs in the course of trade of the client’s registered trademark. A case that spanned a number of years before the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal, this case addressed a number of contentious IP issues raised in the pleadings and stands as a watermark case for the propriety of the grant of Anton Pillar Injunctions in Nigeria.
  • Successfully defended the interest of a client in an IP Claim before the Federal High Court wherein the Plaintiffs’ claim is for an alleged infringement of their patent on advance airtime credit and alleging that our client’s airtime credit package is the same as, and a violation of their patent.
  • In yet another IP-related claim bordering on copyright infringement, wherein Plaintiff alleges breach of her copyright over three songs which she claims she never sold nor issued any license to the client to use or reproduce in any way. This case is one of the many IP cases I handled. Apart from successfully obtaining and enforcing Anton Pillar orders on behalf of the clients, I have successfully litigated and defended numerous IP-related matters.
  • Represented the interest of NDIC as appellant in a land dispute presently on appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act by means of a re-hearing of the matter by the apex court.
  • Arbitration matters
    Defended the NOC in a reference submitted by two IOCs against it, revolving around disagreements between the NOC and the Contractor regarding the performance of the PSC, the valuation of the crude oil sold, and the subsequent determination of lifting entitlements; a pre-requisite to determining tax incidences.
  • Part of the team In another big-ticket international commercial arbitration commenced by two IOCs in 2017 against the NOC, where the team defended the interest of the NOC in a dispute that borders on the recoverability of Cost Oil and the disagreements between the Contractors and the NOC on the NOC’s audit processes.
  • Sports Law transactions
    Successfully defended the interest of an NNL team before the Court of Arbitration for Sports in an employment related reference bordering on the propriety of the player’s purported termination of his employment contract.
  • Successfully defended the interest of an NPFL team before the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on three employment related references.
  • Appointed as a Committee member of the Sports Law Committee by the International Bar Association (IBA)
  • Part of the team that drafted a bespoke dispute resolution framework for the resolution of commercial and technical sports disputes in Nigeria under the auspices of the Sports Industry Thematic Group (SITG) and Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).
  • Part of the legal team of the Sports Industry Thematic Group (SITG) and Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) that drafted the National Sports Industry Policy in 2020; an initiative of the NESG and the Nigerian Sports Ministry.
  • Provided legal advisory to an ex Nigerian international on an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for sports in Switzerland bordering on a life ban imposed on him by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
  • Represented the interest of a Football Club in the Nigerian National League, NNL in a disciplinary proceeding and appeal against the Nigeria National League and Osun United Football Club.

His range of speaking topics

  • Law- Arbitration
  • Employment law,
  • Commercial Litigation & Sports law

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