Stakeholders advocate alternative dispute resolution mechanism in justice delivery
Worried by the growing court dockets and the resultant slow dispensation of justice, stakeholders in legal and arbitration professions have advocated the adoption of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism in Nigeria.
The stakeholders, who made the call at the annual conference and dinner of Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators in Lagos, noted that it has become necessary for individuals, companies and organisations to adopt ADR in dispute resolutions.
According to them, a significant number of home generated disputes are being exported outside Nigeria for arbitration and thereby denying the country of growth of local jurisprudence and expertise.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, who chaired the conference, titled: “Optimising Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Nigeria”, said arbitration system would assist in offloading cases from the courts.
He said it is cheaper and faster, protects parties’ confidentiality and enhances the administration of justice in the country.
The President of National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, who was represented by Justice Kenneth Amadi, said the role of the courts in supporting ADR in industrial disputes is apt and important, considering the fact that an average Nigerian desires dispensation of justice in a more cost-effective, speedier and less acrimonious manner.
He said Section 254 C (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended by the Third Alteration Act 2010) provides that “the National Industrial Court may establish an Alternative Dispute Resolutions Centre within the court premises on matters which jurisdiction is conferred on the court by this constitution or any Act of Law…”
The institute’s Vice President, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, condemned the act of exporting home generated disputes that could be settled within the country to Paris, Geneva and others.
“Although the importance of arbitration is without doubt clearly established, it is indeed a source of concern that a significant number of arbitration of home generated disputes are exported outside Nigeria.
“It is the belief of this institute that the time has come for a reversal of this trend. With highly qualified and experienced arbitrators as members of this institute, there should be no excuse to seek expertise outside”, he stated.
Mike Igbokwe (SAN) also stressed the need to imbibe arbitration in dispute settlement. “Parties are looking for easier, cheaper and faster ways of resolving their disputes and arbitration offers a less expensive and lesser time of resolving conflicts globally,” he said.