Multi-door courthouse lauds successful ADR in Enugu
With the successful settlement of 174 cases that had lingered in various courts in the state during its “Settlement Week”, the Enugu State Multi-Door Courthouse (ESMDC), has said that its establishment has become a landmark development in the advancement of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Nigeria.
State director of the Multi-Door Courthouse, Mrs. Caroline Etuk, told the Guardian that the establishment had impacted the justice system by reducing time frame and caseloads of the courts in the state, adding that it had provided satisfactory and cost-effective justice to litigants.
Etuk said the agency inaugurated with the primary mandate to provide ADR services last year, organized its first settlement week in the state with a nine –man committee headed by Justice Anthony Onovo.
Given a statistics of what the agency achieved during the week long exercise, Etuk said that of the 321 cases referred from various courts and those brought by litigants in 2019; 212 cases were mediated upon with 174 cases successfully concluded and 49 were unsuccessful.
She added: “A total of 38 Courts, 48 mediators, more than 1,272 parties and 350 Counsel participated in the programme. Other success indicators of the programme included the speedy recovery of monetary and other claims in the resolved matters; fostering societal harmony through the amicable resolution of disputes and overall savings to disputants on costs”.
She remarked that strides have been attained in ADR awareness through the programme, adding that creative solutions have been applied to disputes that would have been in the court system for years.
She said criminal cases have become part of the mediation process, stressing that it would help foster a structured restorative justice regime in the state.
Expressing appreciation to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the support so far, Mrs Etuk said the Multi-Door Courthouse was poised to become the pace-setter for the development of mediation as a visible tool for the resolution of complex disputes of all kinds, adding that the state would become the “destination state” for the timely and effective resolution of disputes in the eastern region.
“Going forward, the incremental rise in settlement rates will be guaranteed by innovative processes and increased professionalism in mediator performance as well as the buy in of the legal community through the training of lawyers and other justice stakeholders in the ADR skills,” she stated.
The Multi-Door Courthouse was inaugurated with the primary mandate to provide alternative dispute resolution services within the court system for all classes of people in the state and environs, adding that terms of settlement from the mediation processes are entered as consent judgments of the High and Magistrate Courts of the state.
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