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Jurist urges Nigerian judiciary to emulate United States’ judicial system




A United States retired judge, James Ware, has urged the Nigerian judiciary to emulate the justice system of the United States, which system of justice is just, speedy and inexpensive resolution of disputes.

Ware, made this known at the 2015 Chief G. O. Sodipo annual memorial lecture held at the Regional Center for Commercial Arbitration, Road, Ikoyi, Lagos themed: ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution At a Glance’, where the retired jurist as a guest speaker delivered a paper titled: ‘Five Principles That Led U.S. Courts To Adopt ADR.’

He also admonished stakeholders in the justice sector to ensure that law students are not only taught how to litigate but, also how to resolve disputes through the Alternative Dispute Resolution otherwise known as the (ADR).

His words: ‘Teach them to litigate, effective rules of evidence, legal logic but also teach them to negotiate; to mediate; the miracle of dialogue; that compromises not defeat, because by definition, it involves give and take; introduce them to the bar as new litigators and solicitors, but also as skilled to resolve disputes’.

Also speaking on: ‘Arbitration and Mediation in Nigeria- How it Works’, Mrs. Olusola Adegbonmire, said arbitration and mediation are two Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures which are just beginning to gain ground in Nigeria although they have been in existence in different forms for many years.

In her paper presentation titled: “Arbitration Clauses”, Mrs. Obosa Akpata, said that for any arbitration to become enforceable by the court, parties involved must have consented to resolve their dispute by arbitration which must state clearly that parties have agreed to a binding arbitration.

She stated that parties should consider a number of factors when drafting their arbitration agreement which include: number of arbitrators to be appointed; method of selecting the arbitrators; where parties decide on an institutional arbitration, the proper name of the institution must be inserted; language of the arbitration; applicable arbitration law and arbitration rules; choice of arbitrator; confidentiality and the seat of the arbitration. She however said where the arbitration agreement is silent on any of these factors, the rules of the applicable law will apply.

To her: “One of the advantages of arbitration is the autonomy enjoyed by the parties in deciding how they want their arbitration conducted. The parties can exercise this autonomy when drafting their arbitration agreement to ensure that they derive the utmost benefit from the process.

“Considering the effect (positive or negative) an arbitration agreement could have on the process and outcome of the arbitration proceedings, parties owe an obligation to themselves to ensure that they carefully tailor their arbitration agreement to suit their peculiar needs while ensuring that the essential requirements of a valid arbitration are satisfied.”

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