Ambode moves to establish new Alternative Dispute Resolution centers in Lagos
November 9, 2017 | 12:11 am| | | Start Conversation
The Lagos State Government has shown a renewed commitment to expanding the opportunities for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) through the establishment of more centres in the state in line with global trend.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State made this disclosure while speaking at the 2017 Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Nigeria Branch held in Lagos on Thursday with the theme: “Strengthening the Building Blocks of Arbitration in Africa,” and had participants from the legal profession and among others, from within and outside the country.
According to the Governor, ADR provides businesses and the entire society the opportunity to get speedy and cost effective dispute resolution in place of litigation.
Ambode, who was represented by Idiat Adebule, deputy governor of the state, said that ADR has remained the modern trend and fastest way in dispute resolution, which informed the support the state had given to it.
He said that 26, 994 cases were resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) platform in two years.
“Already, there is a global shift to alternative dispute resolution as a means of resolving disputes. In Lagos State, the window of ADR is increasingly being explored by citizens as measured by the number of cases that have been effectively resolved,” the Governor said.
Given an instance, Ambode noted that 47,918 cases were brought forward within a period of two years for the consideration and arbitration of the Citizens Mediation Centres (CMCs), an alternative platform to litigation in conflict resolution.
“Out of this number, 28,444 cases were mediated and 26,994 cases were resolved. During this period, debt related matters valued at over N1billion were successfully settled. It will be extremely difficult to record this level of achievement under the traditional litigation process,” Ambode said.
Lagos state, he said, has been in the forefront of promoting the adoption of ADR system. “Fifteen years ago, Lagos state blazed the trail with the establishment of the first Multi-Door Court House in Africa with the objective to enhancing access to justice by providing alternative mechanism to supplement litigation in the resolution of dispute.”
Ambode further explained that effectiveness of a system of dispute resolution would be determined by accessibility, speed, fairness and feeling of satisfaction by all parties to the disputes. He said one of the key features of a civilised society was the existence of judicial process that would ensure effective resolution.
Governor, who called for appropriate steps to institutionalise ADR in the nation’s justice system, advocated for increased awareness campaigns and engagement of experts, urged the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators to collaborate with government and other institutions directly involved in the reform of the judicial system.
Earlier in her welcome address, Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, chairman of CIArb, Nigeria Branch, said that the institution collaborated with others in the interest of furthering arbitration and ADR as the preferred means of dispute resolution.
“We are committed to advocating for conducive environment in our jurisdiction for the practice of ADR. The institution provides education and training for arbitrators, mediators, and adjudicators. It also acts as a global hub for practitioners, policy makers, academics and those in business of supporting the global promotion, facilitation and development of all ADR methods,” she said.
Rhodes-Vivour, who noted that there was a growing number of African arbitration centres across the region, said that visionary governments were developing their counties into arbitration hubs.
“The realisation of an internationally-recognised arbitration hub sends the right message to investors. This is because a political and legal stability, a stable and transparent judiciary, a secure and safe environment gives investors the confidence to invest,” she said.
Kazeem Adeniji, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said that the state had embraced ADR by establishment of CMCs, Multi-Door Court House and Court of Arbitration.
He said that Lagos was being made a Centre of Arbitration, as courts are not sufficient to be able to resolve all disputes. “We must look for other methods of resolving disputes; the platform, Lagos government has provided.
“Lagosians should use them – ADR. Lagos has been commended for ease of doing business; ease of doing business also means ease of resolving disputes,” Adeniji said.
The Attorney-General, who noted that over 40,000 cases had been handled by CMCs, said that arbitration made dispute resolution faster.
Folashade Alli , chairperson of the Conference Planning Committee, who said that factors hindering ADR must be removed, called for harmonisation for Arbitration bodies to make the country a hub, saying issues of security and other logistics had to be taken care of.
Alli, a Chartered Administrator, said that anybody, not just lawyers, could be an arbitrator.
Big Read |