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ADR Will Enhance Justice, Decongest Courts in Nigeria – Dr. Agada Elachi, FICMC, FCIArb(UK)

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The President of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, Dr John Elachi Agada, has said that the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution will help a lot to decongest the court and improve on the challenge of access to court in the country.

Dr Agada made this call on Tuesday during the maiden conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution for judges in the country held at Ogun State Judiciary Complex, Kobape, Abeokuta.

Agada said that the deployment of alternatives to litigation with the use of ADR mechanisms such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration will help to increase access to to justice and reduce delay in delivery of justice .

He said, “Despite the gains of the judiciary and the enormous work the Judiciary is beset with, it will appear that access to justice in the country s still a big challenge. Our courts are congested most of the time due to factors that are mostly beyond the control of the judiciary as an institution and individual as legal officers. This has led to the uninformed blaming of the judiciary over delay of resolution of cases.

“Therefore, the deployment of alternatives to litigation by resorting to ADR mechanisms such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation and host of others will ensure greater access to justice, reduce delay in justice delivery while also helping the disputants options from which they can choose to address their concerns.”

He however said that for the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution to be more rooted in the country, the judges must be ready to begin to issue order that will encourage adoption of ADR.

The judges must equally among other things be ready to encourage the adoption and enforcement of terms of settlement as obtained from the ADR just like the court order.

He declared that attainment of efficient justice system in Nigeria will not only be beneficial to the country but also impact other countries in Africa given the big brother role the country plays in the continent.

Welcoming participants to the conference, the Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu said that people have been used to litigation and that the concept of ADR usually unsettled them as they doubt its effectiveness.

Justice Dipeolu stated that, “Most litigants construe ADR as a tool to deployed to make them lose their cases while many legal practitioners are also not totally embracing it because it is construed as a tool to deny them their professional fees”.

She however said that since the law of the land supported ADR with its attendant benefits particularly as it helps to ease and hasten administration of justice, the judges in the country should uphold its implementation.

Justice Dipeolu further stated, “ADR processes are cheaper, quicker, flexible, informal, confidential, preserves the relationship of disputants and reduces workload of judges. It also help strengthen judicial modernisation, unclog the courts, increase access to justice among others”.

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