What are the factors that could influence the selection of an ADR Option?

Abstract
In episode 5 of Expert Views on ADR (EVA) Podcast, two questions were raised, the first one was ‘what prompted the birth of the ESMDC’ and the second question was, ‘what could influence the selection of an ADR option’? 
I had the opportunity to discuss these questions with Mr Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq (Notary Public), the Managing Partner of Obra Legal; a lawyer with over 14 years of experience in Litigation, Domestic and International Arbitration and Negotiation. He is also a Charted Mediator who has mediated over 15 cases at the Enugu State Multi-Door courthouse (ESMDC) since the inception of ESMDC in 2018 and an Editorial member board the Enugu State Multi-Door Court House Journal.
We concluded that though they are factors that would influence selecting an ADR option, for both the parties and lawyers. However, they are motivational factors, especially for the lawyers that would encourage them to embrace ADR.
Introduction
What prompted the birth of ESMDC?
We provided an overview that was centred on four (4) key points. They are as follows:
1) To enhance access to justice by providing an Alternative Mechanism to supplement litigation in resolving a dispute.
2) To minimise the frustration faced by citizens in the justice delivery process.
3) To provide a legal framework for a fair and efficient way of settling matters through ADR.
4)  To become the hub of ADR in the whole entire eastern region.
What are the factors that that could influence the selection of an ADR Option?
In Nigeria, generally, three factors were highlighted that could influence an ADR option’s choice or selection. These factors are as follows:
1)  The mindset of legal practitioners, collaborative agencies, community and friends.
2)  Efficiency and speed in the justice delivery system.
3)  Finance for lawyers.
Given this discussion, another prominent question emanated on ‘what could motivate lawyers to tow the ADR path to ease the court’s burden?
Motivational factors for lawyers to tow the ADR Path:
Culture, Awareness and Career (CAC) were revealed as the three motivational factors.
Culture: Reveals itself in the sense that customary Arbitration already forms an intrinsic part of our culture in Africa. Validating the above view, Ikechukwu Onuoma elucidated that in the African continent the ADR already forms a part of their culture thus a constant reminder of these would help remind the lawyers and the potential users to opt for ADR.

For example, he revealed that ‘in the African culture they have the Obi’s, Baale’s, and the Emirs who otherwise act as arbitrators over the disputes between the parties.[1] Also, he exemplified the above submission by citing the famous book written by Chinua Achebe. He states, “we will find iconic scenes in his books Things fall Apart, references have been made to families who have been brought to the Igwe and he settled their matters.”He emphasised that ‘as a consequence, it shows firstly that the elements of Traditional African Method of Settling Disputes (TAMSD) –the parties submit voluntarily, which is the same element overlapping with ADR, the second is that the parties would accept the terms which overlap the ADR, – acceptance of the terms.

Finally, the parties be it the kinsmen or the communities will also agree that they will be bind by the terms of that customary arbitration or settlements and sometimes in order to be bind- involves some sort of oath-taking in their customary rudimental arbitration and exactly this binding nature of TAM flows into the same ADR now institutionalised, hence culture is key.’

Awareness: This is where the Enugu State Multi-door Courthouse comes into play. The director, Mrs Caroline Etuk, has taken advantage of the new terrain to create the new Mediterranean through campaigns and training.
Career: If most of the ADR matters done by lawyers will count or form part of the requirement for those who want to be appointed as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) or a judge. That would encourage lawyers to refer more cases and advocate or enlighten their clients to opt for ADR.
Some of the Feedbacks/ comments received for this episode:
Insightful session-Little wings
Very insightful session on ADR. I agree that awareness should be thrumped up. Culture is another element that should be progressively embedded in formal ADR processes for greater buy-ins, especially in Nigeria’s eastern part.-Justina Dillion
I just started listening to your podcast, and I can tell you that I have learnt so much about ADR.
Keep up with the good work.- Jude Oke
Conclusion
Hence we hope that all the points raised in this discourse should not discourage potential parties or the lawyers who are yet to embrace this scheme rather it should serve as a motivational factor or an incentive to embrace ADR / opt for ADR.
To hear the full version of this episode, click here.
Reference:
Chinwe Umegbolu, Dispensation of Justice: Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) as a Case study (Ongoing research University of Brighton 2018-2021).

Arbitration as it stands today.

 

Abstract

 

In this episode of Expert Views on ADR (EVA), I and Ms Chika Maduakolam, a PhD Candidate in Socio-legal studies at York University, Toronto; a lawyer with over ten (10) years experience in civil litigation and dispute resolution presents a general overview of arbitration and why it is a suitable process for potential users.

Introduction

An overview of Arbitration

We started off with what is ADR? Then delved into what arbitration means at a basic level. In furtherance, comparative analysis between arbitration and the traditional African method of settling disputes (TAMSD) was revisited. We went on to look at the similarities of  Arbitration and litigation, which then led us to address a pertinent question on why arbitration is viewed as the new litigation.

Why then is Arbitration a good alternative to litigation?

Essentially, to tackle the aforementioned question -we critically analysed the neutrality of the arbitration process, its flexibility, cost, time, the cordial relationship of parties and confidentiality of the arbitration process vis-a-vis litigation.

 

Ad hoc v Institutional arbitral bodies

A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the above-mentioned sub-theme was stated, and some of the institutional bodies from different jurisdiction were highlighted.

 

Scope of matters covered by Arbitration

The general notion that the scope of matters covered by arbitration is only commercial matters or labour disputes were dispelled in this episode. We highlighted several matters that can go to arbitration.

 

Some comments/ feedback for this episode

Well done, Chinwe. The interlink between ADR and our traditional way of settling Dispute in Nigeria makes ADR a more viable option. Kudos!!!-IK Onuoma

Well done- Mehabad S.Ali

ADR is fast getting the recognition it deserves. Keep up the good work- Nneka Egbunike Ali.

Very insightful session on the pros and cons of arbitration both in the formal and informal settings.  Keep it up, Chinwe.- Justina Dillion

Good job, well done.- Steve Adikaibe

Insightful… educative…thanks Little Wings

 

Conclusion

In sum, arbitration is a process where parties choose an independent, impartial decision-maker to settle their matter, the arbitral award that is given is binding on both parties. To an extent, arbitration does save parties some measure of cost, some measure of time, and most importantly, it gives parties flexibility over the process. It is suited to a whole lot of matters, and it does not have to be expensive, it all depends on the expert parties choose, and it depends on how they choose the expert.

Thus from the aforementioned comments/ feedback- to an extent, this episode has demystified arbitration, for potential users to embrace this process.

To hear the full version of this episode, click here.

 

 

 

Scope of Matters Settled Under ADR: Episode three (3) of EVA.

 

 

Abstract

In this third episode of Expert Views on ADR (EVA) Podcast, I and Mr John Osegi who is a Mediator at the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) and a practising lawyer in Nigeria, critically analysed the type of matters that are amenable to ADR; with the hope of enlightening potential users and litigants on the type of matters that can be sent to ADR. Hitherto we discovered that some matters are best handled under Mediation, which is part of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

 

Introduction

 

Summary of Matters that can be settled under ADR:

They include Family Disputes, Commercial Disputes, Probate and Administrative Estates, Maritime Disputes, Auxillary Matters in particular Custody, Small Claims, Landlord and Tenant Disputes. To reiterate some of the aforementioned disputes are best settled via Mediation.

It is apt to point out that small claim matters involve a small amount of money for instance in Lagos State there is a law that fixes small claims to the amount of 5million naira (equivalent to 9,958 pounds 68 pence) and below. In order words, a million is a small claim matter but anything above 5million would be referred to or would go to the magistrate courts. Small claims can easily be amenable to mediation and ADR.

 

Disputes not covered under ADR:

They consist of the following: Election Petition and Divorce.

Election Disputes:  It is essential to point out that elections disputes are not yet being covered under ADR but theoretically it can. Essentially in Nigeria where we play the zero-sum game of politics-the winner takes all. In certain instances, they could be some form of power-sharing although that perspective may not be too soon in coming because of the way Nigeria politics is arranged.  But then on a higher level particularly when it has to do with countries that are severely under some form of widespread confusion and violence. For instance, what happened in Kenya where Kofi Annan had to lead a mediation team to resolve a dispute at a particular level. Mediation can actually help to create an enabling environment for political disputes to be resolved.

Divorce: On the contrary, ADR cannot pronounce a decree nisi and a decree absolute.

 

Probate and  Administrative EstatesConversely, Mediation can not give the letter of administration that is the job of the court, mediation cannot admit the will etc.

 

Feedback / Comments from this Episode:

Very incisive Chinwe, this episode opens new frontiers in ADR.- Ikechukwu Onuoma

This podcast is really getting more interesting. I must commend the efforts of Chinwe Umegbolu Esq. for taking time out to do these very special sessions that have been extremely expository. The simplicity of her approach makes it easier for the potential users to know, understand, appreciate and have more confidence in the ADR process. I’m particularly convinced that this great hard-work channelled in the right direction. Kudos to you- Stephen Adikaibe

This episode captures the fulcrum of ADR. Permit me to name it the doctrine of severance. When you severe the substance from the riffraff, you enjoy the cascading beauty of ADR. Often times behind the lack of will and passion for ADR lies the inability to severe ADR matter from others. When people can actually draw the tiny line between litigation and ADR matters, they would naturally embrace ADR without much persuasions because the benefits are priceless. Putting it categorically, ADR is always a win-win situation. Nothing compares with that. .. but first, you must be able to know matters that are ADR in nature! Kenneth C. Joshua

A big advocate of ADR you are, you practically devote yourself to regular people like me to know about ADR and knowing how and when to use ADR ( mediation ). We thank you for your dedication in informing us on ADR, May God continue to give you the strength to carry on. Hurbert Laplante

It’s very interesting. This episode has raised some fundamental issues that would enlighten people more on the matters that are best handled at ADR. Thanks, Chinwe. Great job. Atuluku Abdul

 

Conclusion

This episode was able to identify matters that can be settled under ADR and those matters that cannot be settled under ADR. I hope the aforementioned discourse will propel or inspire potential users and litigants to try out ADR or Court-Connected ADR.

In sum, the above feedback/ comments demonstrate that there is a buy-in into the ADR process -which is the aim of the podcast.  To hear the full version of this episode, click here.

Episode 2: ‘Merits of the ADR Process’

 

Abstract 

This is the highlights of episode 2 of Expert Views on ADR (EVA) Podcast which revealed some of the factors that contributed to the recent use of ADR or the rise of ADR in various jurisdictions- which was as a result of delay and cost of litigation. Thus these factors provided an avenue for litigants to move towards Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Against this backdrop, Mr Steve Adikaibe, a practising lawyer in Nigeria, pointed out the advantages or merits of the ADR process with a clear intention of educating potential users.

 

Introduction 

Advantages of the ADR Process:

Some of the Advantages discussed are -the flexibility of the procedure, expedition, cost-effectiveness, confidentiality, party autonomy and simple procedure of the ADR process.

 

Comments/feedback from this second episode:

Very enlightening podcast thanks Chinwe. I am curious about the cost implications and who pays the mediators, and does it influence their decisions? –Akinyo Ola

I cannot agree less. In line with the above, it appears that the weaknesses of litigation gave birth to the modern ADR. In real life, litigation does not end a conflict even after judgment. It could restrain and compel obedience but cannot install peace and friendship back between disputants. On the contrary, ADR does not just end a conflict but restores love and peace between disputants.- Kenneth Joshua

This is a great piece of work Chinwe, your comparative analysis with the African Arbitration system is very vital.- Ikechukwu Onuoma

Very clear message. Your work on ADR is very expository.- Justina Dillion

I think this is an excellent piece of work. I commend you, Chinwe. I have noticed how expensive the ADR process has become over the last twenty years. I have also observed that the ADR process is becoming too legalistic and the strict application of the rule of evidence makes ADR session looks like courtroom proceedings. In all, ADR is the way to go. – Kingsley Nwabueze Onunwa

Thank you for sharing such an insightful podcast.- David Nzeribe

The importance of a platform like this cannot be understated. Thank you, Chinwe for your initiative on enlightening your audience on this contemporary and relevant dispute resolution solution. It is necessary to understand that a broad range of options now exist in respect to resolving most disputes, especially in the forward-thinking world we live in. This episode is particularly vital to dispel any initial misgivings people new to the process of ADR may have when coming to the table or considering other options to litigation. A great listen for anyone with doubts on the important value of ADR as a process. Unequivocally I say: Great job Chinwe!-Chika Madu

 

Conclusion

This episode has thrown more light on the advantages of ADR; thus, it will encourage or nudge potential users in choosing the best dispute resolution process.

To hear the full version of this episode, click here.

Podcast: Expert Views on ADR (EVA).

 

Episode 1: Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) an Offspring of the traditional African method of settling a dispute?

 

ABSTRACT

 The first-ever episode segment of Expert Views on ADR (EVA) podcast kicked off yesterday! Thus I had the privilege to discuss with Kenneth Joshua, a renowned legal practitioner in Lagos-Nigeria on the overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the differences and similarities between the present ADR and the Traditional Africa method of settling dispute (TAMSD). We went on to discuss the development of ADR in Africa and how the Multi-door courthouse can be recognized as not only an option but also possibly the first means of settling a dispute at a cheaper rate and efficient manner.

 

Introduction:

 

The Aim of the Podcast:

By and large, Expert Views on Alternative Dispute Resolution (EVA) podcast is centred on the blogger’s thesis research objective, which is on the awareness of the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) / Alternative Dispute Research (ADR) and its impact on other states, In particular, Enugu state Multi-Door Courthouse (ESMDC). ADR / MDC are at the forefront of drastic sensitization and development, particularly Africa. Thus, this blogger wants to be a part of this sensitization, particularly enlightening disputants/litigants who are yet to use this process. Hence I will invite key speakers (Experts in ADR / MDC) from the African continent and other continents every weekend to state or share their views on the benefits of ADR / MDC to get more and more users to embrace and pursue a career in ADR.
It is pertinent to point out that I am the host, super excited to achieve this milestone!

 

Significance of the Podcast:

This podcast thus far has been able to simplify ADR for potential users to be fully aware that Litigation is not the only option, that there are other alternatives. Moreso, for the users and non-users of ADR, to recognise the inherent pros and cons associated with this process and why it is important to opt for it for certain types of disputes.

For all intents and purposes, Kenneth and I are of the view that the Traditional method of settling a dispute in Africa (TAMSD) and the present ADR seeks to achieve the same purposes. However, they may vary depending on the circumstances of each dispute presented before it. However, both processes of dispute resolutions target to restore relative peace, harmony, fairness and eliminate rancour of any form between the disputing parties in a manner that reassures and resonate reasonable coexistence thereafter. For me, the processes are largely typical but differ in their procedures. Hence, we state that the procedures share so much in common but differs in its composition, approaches, methodology and inspirations. The African setting gives credence to persons that have distinguished themselves in the society to sit amongst the panel of mediators with or without expert or professional qualifications or experience on the matter. All that matters is their good standing in society. 

However, the present ADR pays more attention to professionals that have acquired enormous expertise in dispute resolutions. Furthermore, the present ADR platform has gone ahead to entrench the ADR formulas to an aspect of our laws that make it extremely difficult to abscond from the arrangements finalized during the dispute resolutions; thereby making it a more formidable and dependable channel of resolving disputes. This has further advanced the assurances of users knowing fully well that it is legally effective and can be enforced within the ambits of the law or legal system- which is encouraged globally. We must give credence to the traditional African dispute resolution(TAMS) pattern, as the present ADR is an advancement on the good jobs entrenched by the traditional system of old.

 

Comments/feedback from this  first episode:

 Well done, Chinwe. You are a true ADR advocate. Like I earlier said, I totally agree with you. The modern-day ADR is a replica of the traditional African mode of conflict resolution. During the pre-colonial era, which dates, back before 1861, ADR was the only means of settling a dispute in Nigeria. The modern-day court came later with the arrival of colonialism. It, therefore, suffices to hold the view that the modern-day ADR is the offspring of the traditional African model of ADR. Thank you. –Ken

Good job, Chinwe. Yes!-the modern-day ADR seems to be the new modern; advanced method of settling disputes, the obvious difference is “ADR” is a modern method while the traditional method is an old method. –Abdul

I learnt that anyone could practice ADR, ADR is basically what has been existing just that it did not have the fancy name for it yet but a question that has been on my mind since is how binding is ADR and I also learnt what court-connected ADR is. Furthermore, how to settle a dispute and get a ruling on it so that makes it binding and so much binding because the parties gave their consent. This podcast gave me the answers to all these questions. Well done. –Esy

  Very enlightening podcast thanks Chinwe. I am curious about the cost implications and who pays the mediators, and does it influence their decisions? Akinola Ola

The institution pays the mediators; thus, it does not affect their decisions. It is essential to point out that the institution gets funded by the government or from walk-in or private matters. Chinwe Stella Umegbolu

The importance of a platform like this cannot be understated. Thank you, Chinwe for your initiative on enlightening your audience on this contemporary and relevant dispute resolution solution. It is necessary to understand that a broad range of options now exist with respect to resolving most disputes, especially in the forward-thinking world we live in. This episode is particularly vital to dispel any initial misgivings people new to the process of ADR may have when coming to the table or considering other options to litigation. A great listen for anyone with doubts on the important value of ADR as a process. Unequivocally I say: Great job Chinwe! Chika Madu

This is a great piece of work Chinwe, your comparative analysis with the African Arbitration system is very vital. IK Onuoma

I cannot agree less. In line with the above, it appears that the weaknesses of litigation gave birth to the modern ADR. In real life, litigation does not end a conflict even after judgment. It could restrain and compel obedience but cannot install peace and friendship back between disputants. On the contrary, ADR does not just end a conflict but restores love and peace between disputants. Ken 

Thank you for sharing such an insightful podcast. David Nzeribe

Very clear message. Your work on ADR is very expository. Well done, sis… way to go! Justina Dillion

I think this is an excellent piece of work. I commend you, Chinwe. I have noticed how expensive the ADR process has become over the last twenty years. I have also observed that the ADR process is becoming too legalistic and the strict application of the rule of evidence makes ADR session looks like courtroom proceedings. In all, ADR is the way to go. Good work, Chinwe. Kingsley Nwabueze Onunwa

 

Brilliant sis. Persistence, perseverance, diligence and excellence. Well done. Kingsley  Nwokolo

 

CONCLUSION

Flowing from the above, this first episode of the podcast has made users and non-users to be aware of the advantages of ADR and how it relates to the TAMSD. This line of thinking is predicated, from the comments/ feedback mentioned above connoting that the EVA podcast, is on its way in fulfilling one of its aims.

It is essential to point out that EVA is aired on Anchor FM for an average of 30mins recording time and its distributed by Anchor FM on different social media platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Radio Public.

For the full version of this episode click here

Reference:
Chinwe Stella Egbunike- Umegbolu, Dispensation of Justice: The  Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) as a Case Study (Ongoing-research at the University of Brighton 2018-2021) 89.

Stay tuned next weekend for more episodes on Expert views on ADR (EVA)!!!