I know the question on everyone’s mind is, how does the LMDC work or functions? The answer is merely straightforward because the primary aim of the LMDC is to supplement litigation as the accessible resort for justice. Hence providing quick, cost-effective and party-friendly access to justice.
The Proceedings of the LMDC
A couple of reviewed literature has indicated that parties can either walk in, or the court can refer matters to the LMDC. Finally, the court can decide to invite parties directly. So either you get a direct invite from the court or walk-in by yourself, or the court refers you. The focal point here is that these processes align with Article 2 of the LMDC Practice direction 2007.
An essential feature of the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse Law, 2007 is that the LMDC is an independent and non-profitable body. Article 2 of the LMDC Practice direction 2007 stipulates that action can begin at the LMDC through the following ways:
A) Initiating a “referral” at the LMDC
- The ‘Walk-in’ route:
- The party (the claimant) can walk-in or his counsel walks into the Multi-Door Courthouse to lodge his or her complaint with Registrar.
- The claimant pays an administrative fee.
- Set of forms are given to be filled.
- The opponent (the respondents) is notified about the complaint.
- The set of forms is dispatched along with the notification of the “referral”- a referral is used in the MDC instead of a suit;
- The respondent returns his or her filled forms and response; then, the hearing date is fixed for the first meeting.
B) By Court Referral:
The presiding judge in an ongoing matter; might decide to refer it to mediation; if he reckons it is an appropriate way of resolving the dispute.
- Referrals from the courts can either be made by the judge independently or at the party’s demand- his lawyer requests a stay of proceedings in the court which will enable him (the party) try settling amicably in the multi-door courthouse.
- Finally, if the parties reach a settlement, the court pronounces it as a consent judgement of the court, making it final and binding on the parties.
C) Direct Intervention
- The LMDC can suo moto extend their magnanimity to feuding parties by extending an invitation to them.
Benefits of using the LMDC:
It is of paramount importance to point out some of the benefits of the ADR processes, which are as follows:
1) It is party reliant or focused.
2)It dispenses justice promptly and saves cost.
3) It is Voluntary and flexible, what this means is that parties are free to stop the mediation session at any time if they do not want to engage with the process anymore.
4) Parties are to sign the Confidential agreement before the commencement of the matter.
5) It is structured or encourages a Win-Win approach for both parties.
Subsequently, the LMDC panel of neutrals is made up of Chief Judge of Lagos State, ADR Judges, Accredited Mediators, Arbitrators, Neutral Evaluators from every field. It is imperative to point out that the Chief Judge of Lagos State is in charge of approving the panel above on the Neutrals’ Screening Committee’s direct recommendation.
 Aina, K. The multi-Door Concept in Nigeria: The Journey so Far” cited by Chinyere Ani, Alternative Dispute Resolution 48, 10.
 See A Law to Establish the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse and for Other Connected Matters  No. 56, vol. 40 Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette.