By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Anambra State Judiciary has introduced a new system of dispute resolution that would ensure the settlement of cases using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
The state Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, said cases would be settled at pre-trial stage without going through full-scale litigation processes.
Umeadi stated this during the swearing-in of 11 Deputy Chief Registrars, (DCRs) in charge of Case Evaluation in all the judicial divisions in the state.
The DCRs, he said, would be saddled with the responsibility of evaluating the contentious issues in all civil cases brought before the high court and advise litigants on appropriate means of resolving their disputes either by exploring the multi-door court system using ADR or through regular court room litigation as the last resort.
He described the appointment of the DCRs as another bold attempt to change the way things are done in the state judicial system, sequel to the review of the High Court civil procedure rules.
He said: “Order 4, rules 1, 2 and 3 of the Civil Procedure Rules established the office and set out the responsibilities of the Deputy Chief Registrars for case evaluation.
“The judiciary under my leadership is poised to implement this very laudable provision in our statute book to evolve a new era of quick dispensation of justice and settlement of conflict.”
According to Justice Umeadi, “There has been wide spread complaints about delays in the court system. But all over the world, efforts are being made to enhance access and hasten processes, so that citizens would maintain trust in the system and not get frustrated with many years of unending litigations.”
He said that Anambra State was second only to Lagos State in terms of the quantum of cases that comes to its courts, adding that Lagos being a highly populated metropolitan city when compared with the small population of Anambra State goes to show that on the average, Anambra could be said to have the highest of murder cases per head, than any other place in the country.
The chief judge, who took time to tutor the appointees on the demands of their new office, urged them to see themselves as pioneers who will take the state judiciary into a new era of easier, faster and seamless adjudication of cases.