The Judicial Council Student Union Government and Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, Rivers State University, have organized a one-day stakeholders’ conference with the theme, ‘The Role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Our Judicial System’.
Speaking at the event over the weekend at the auditorium of the Faculty of Law, Rivers State University, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, the coordinator of Rivers State Multi-Door Court House (RSMDC), Mr. Victor Nweke said many conflicts have been resolved through ADR, especially in Europe and America.
“Many conflicts have been resolved through ADR. In the West a lot of conflicts have been resolved through ADR. Besides, family dispute can also be resolved through ADR,” he stated.
Nweke, who was represented by the deputy director of RSMDC, Chioma S. Jack, said since RSMDC was launched in October 2021, many cases have been resolved through ADR.
“ADR plays a complementary role to the normal processes of litigation. Many residents of this state have had access to justice. Today, ADR is increasingly gaining acceptability and currency around the world,” Mr. Nweke asserted.
The state coordinator of RSMDC explained that ADR does not only serve as an alternative to normal litigation process but also offers speedy dispensation of justice, adding that family disputes and crisis can also be resolved through ADR.
He harped on the need for more law students to be exposed to ADR.
In her presentation, Amara Inegbenoise said the ADR practitioner should know that there is a difference between arbitration, mediation and resolution, pointing out that arbitration is very complex.
“Arbitration is very complex. Arbitration is a very flexible process. Arbitration is also binding and it cannot be appealed,” Inegbenoise stated.
She explained that experts in ADR should also know the terminology of ADR such as place and seat of ADR as well as the New York Convention and the Geneva Convention.
Inegbenoise who is the founder/CEO of Noise and Blue as well as RSU ADR special adviser, told the audience that they have opportunities for training and to meet other practitioners for deeper knowledge.
“As students or young people, you have a lot of opportunities to go for training because sitting here today for this ADR conference cannot give us all the knowledge. Besides, you also have access to meeting many ADR practitioners. We need to acquire more knowledge on ADR,” Inegbenoise stressed.
In his submission, a lecturer with Rivers State University, RSU, Dr. Orowhou Okocha argued that there is a difference between litigation and arbitration pointing out that the uncertainty of the law to the practice of ADR is a challenge.
“With ADR you cannot convict a criminal. There is lack of awareness about ADR. ADR is not attainable. There is a general perception of what ADR can do and what ADR cannot do. I am on your side, however, litigation for now is the primary role of resolution of conflict. In all these, peace is preferable to justice.”
Dr. Okocha appealed to the Nigerian Universities Commission, NUC and university dons to ensure that ADR is taught in the university as a course.
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