Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates (SCMA) in conjunction with FOTEFA Partners, presented mediation advocacy as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) during a conference held at the high court, Lagos Island.
Speaking during the conference themed, “Business and practice of mediation advocacy,” Honourable justice Atinuke Oluyemi revealed that mediation, is an alternative dispute resolution which should be readily embraced as an alternative to litigation.
“Mediation should be embraced as a means of conflict resolution against running to court. Mediation is a win-win thing. Rather than going to court and prolonging issues for months and years, these issues can rather be sorted out in a roundtable, where issues are amicably sorted out in few hours or at most, few days. It saves times and most essentially reduces cost implications.”
According to Yemi Akisanya, SCMA during his speech, he opined that mediators have no power to decide the dispute but have wide power to control the process of the bargaining. “The mediator’s greatest single power lies in him being neutral and unbiased, which is something that should be so often used,” he said.
“More to this, there are several critical issues in mediation advocacy which varies from, building or creating an ADR, to billing ones clients, down to ethical issues in mediation, among others.” He further said.
He revealed that building an ADR practice or culture would drive successful settlement on both ends, create a sense of achievement on the part of the mediator, and inadvertently lead to more business. On the other hand, would end the dispute in less time with less money under satisfactory terms. “All the more reason why mediation advocacy must be embraced taught and practised,” he noted.
“more so, mediation advocacy does not operate in vacuum, before one can talk about the viability of integrating mediation advocacy as a profit centre in a law firm structure, the law firm must be well structured and must, develop an internal structure, develop policies and an ADR culture, get suitable lawyers in the firm, invest in trainings among others.” He added.
During the panel discussion, which consisted of justice Atinuke Oluyemi, high court, Lagos division, Valentiono Buoro SCMA (UK) Convenr SCMA, Nigeria, Adeyemi Akinsanya SCAMS, CEDR Accredited Mediators (UK), They disclosed that employing one or more forms of ADR as a means of dispute resolution is essential because often times clients want a resolution, not war, legal needs are changing dramatically; in-house counsels are looking for cost-effective alternative ways of resolving their disputes, and also smaller bills not larger ones.