By Alex Enumah
The Court of Appeal yesterday commenced the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system of settling legal disputes.
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.
Dongban-Mensem said that this is necessary to make the country more attractive to International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
She said at the inaugural sitting of the Court of Appeal Mediation Center that good performance on the part of the judiciary would improve employment and domestic economic growth.
She also 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.
The President of the Court of Appeal said that the ADR represented an innovation that would introduce a multi-track justice delivery system and boost justice delivery if fully utilised.
She stated that appellate mediation has become part of the global legal lexicon, straddling the appellate courts of countries like the United States of America, The United Kingdom and Thailand.
She noted that the overriding objectives of the Court of Appeal mediation center are to promote mediation and other alternative dispute resolution mechanism towards enhancing the administration of justice and speedy resolution of disputes, adding that the new system would assist parties in reaching an expeditious resolution of their disputes in all good faith in a fair and efficient manner.
“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 said.
The honourble justice appealed to the bench and bar to uphold the ideals of the center for quick and amicable resolution of disputes, adding that this can be achieved if all sides imbibed the highest code of ethics and global best practices in the operation of the center.
The Appeal Court President commended Justices Williams Daudu, Sotonye Denton-West and Philomena Ekpe for their commitment to the success of the center and Dr. Kehinde Aina, for making the establishment of the center a reality.
The appellants at the session included a business tycoon, Mr. 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.