By Alex Enumah
The Court of Appeal on Monday officially kick-started the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system of settling legal dispute.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, at the official take-off of the system in Abuja, urged the judiciary to rise up and meet the challenges of adjudication in the 21st century.
Justice Dongban-Mensem said it is necessary to do so in order to make the country more attractive to international trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Speaking at the inaugural sitting of the Court of Appeal Mediation Center, the president further stated that good performance on the part of the judiciary will improve employment and domestic economic growth.
While declaring the session open, Justice Dongban-Mensem recalled that it was initiated in 2018 as a way of ensuring speedy and efficient dispensation of justice as well as promoting amicable alternative to the adversarial justice system.
She further said that the ADR represented an innovation which, if fully utilised, will introduce a multi-track justice delivery system to the appellate level and further boost justice delivery.
According to her, appellate mediation is now part of the global legal lexicon, straddling the appellate courts of countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom and Thailand.
The Appeal Court President further stated that the overriding objectives of the Court of Appeal mediation center is to promote mediation and other alternative dispute resolution mechanism towards enhancing the administration of justice and speedy resolution of disputes.
Among others, Justice Dongban-Mensem also stated that the new system will assist parties in reaching an expeditious resolution of their disputes in all good faith in a fair and efficient manner.
She said: “We must not only build a structure but a mindset that will drive the process of alternative, less expensive and less onerous dispute resolution process such as mediation. There is also need for us to build a culture where peaceful resolution of disputes becomes more attractive than litigation.”
She then appealed to the bench and bar to uphold the ideals of the centre for quick and amicable resolution of disputes, adding that, this can be achieved if all sides imbibe the highest code of ethics and global best practices in the operation of the centre.
The Appeal Court President commended Justices Williams Daudu, Sotonye Denton-West and Philomena Ekpe for their commitment to the success of the centre and Dr. Kehinde Aina for making the establishment of the centre a reality.
Among the appellants at the session were a business tycoon, Chief Ned Nwoko, who described the ADR as a right step in the right direction and appealed to Nigerians to imbibe the new justice dispensation system.