Adjudication Simplified with Ukpeme Okon

 

Abstract

I was pleased to welcome the Founder, Trustee, and the President of the Guild of Adjudicators in Nigeria (GAIN) and the author of The Values String: A book on Transitional Life, Compelling Fulfilment, and Profound Peace.

She is also a lawyer, arbitrator, adjudicator, author, mediator, Ambassador for Peace and trainer, with over fourteen (14) years of law practice, peacebuilding, and leadership.  Her core competencies include mediation, negotiation, writing and research, opinion writing, Alternative Dispute Resolution and public speaking.

We analysed the following questions:

1 What is an Adjudication process?

2 What are the types of Adjudication, and where can it be classified?

3 What is the purpose of Adjudication and its benefits?

4 What is the difference between Litigation and Adjudication?

5 What are the similarities between Adjudication and Arbitration?

6 Can anyone be an adjudicator?

7 What is your advice for people that want to start a career in Adjudication?

Introduction
What is an Adjudication process? 
The term adjudication may be confessing because Adjudication generally refers to the process of deciding a case or resolving a dispute, nonetheless about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  An Adjudication process involves a dispute resolution between parties by a neutral third party known as an adjudicator, who is an expert in the subject matter of the dispute. The adjudicator’s decision is binding on the parties until or unless it is reversed.
Is Adjudication classified under ADR?
Yes, Adjudication is classified under ADR-its one of the ADR mechanisms because the process of Adjudication involves settlement or determination of the disputes outside of the court processes.
Types of Adjudication?
 They are two types of Classification for  Adjudication. They are Statutory Adjudication and Contractual Adjudication.
Statutory Adjudication:  Has the backing of the law or legislation of any jurisdiction, country, or committee. For example, the United Kingdom has the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act of 1996 (HGRA- also known as the Construction Act). Thus, the law mentioned above provides for Dispute Resolution using Adjudication because so many countries do not have legislation or laws that provide for Adjudication because Adjudication is relatively novel. However, many countries have an adjudication act that provides or resorts to Arbitration.
Contractual Adjudication: 
This refers to a situation where parties agree to resolve disputes by Adjudication. This occurs or is occasioned in certain Adjudication clauses- parties decide that in the light of any arising conflict between them, they would like to resolve their disputes by adjudication or by adopting the adjudication method.
What is the Purpose of Adjudication and its benefits:
The purpose of Adjudication is to ensure quicker, simpler, less expensive and impartial dispute resolution-hence the resolution process is fair to the parties concerned.  Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) generally have the same purposes mentioned above or attributes; however, Adjudication has a special quick resolution method.
The Benefits of Adjudication:
Regardless of the Nomenclature of the ADR systems, they have common features. The main benefit is that it is a quicker alternative method than other ADR processes.
In terms of cost, Is Adjudication more expensive?
One of the objectives of ADR is to have a less expensive dispute resolution method. Still, it is relative because even if it is less costly, the time that is applied in utilising that method sometimes is even more expensive than resorting to the court. Okon pointed out that she was an arbitrator in an ongoing case for years, and they spent so much money on that particular case. Additionally, the conduct of parties or tribunal matters even if the intention is to make the process less expensive, i.e. if the parties or tribunals do not stick to the terms or process agreed on- unduly extending the process can make it more expensive.
What is the Difference between Litigation and Adjudication?
There are differences between litigation and Adjudication. Litigation is a public legal process in which disputes between parties are settled through the court system; in relation to Adjudication, it is a private process. The second difference is that in litigation, the judges are assigned by the relevant court system, while in Adjudication, parties appoint their adjudicators. So parties have the autonomy to appoint whomever they wish to serve as an adjudicator in their dispute.
What are the Similarities between Adjudication and Arbitration?
The similar features are as follows: They both have consensual nature, party autonomy and the processes are geared towards quicker resolution of disputes. The third similarity is that they are private methods of dispute resolution.  Another similarity is that both procedures are flexible and have statutory provisions. The awards in both procedures are enforceable. Also, the awards in both procedures are similar to judgements – amount to an arbitrary award or award in adjudication. Thus, there is an interconnectedness between the court and this ADR mechanism. Thus parties can reach a consensus as regards the process, unlike litigation, where the process is driven mainly by the judge.
Can anyone be an Adjudicator?
Anyone can be an Adjudicator, but expertise in the adjudication process is necessary because the qualification of an Adjudicator may be required by parties before he /she can be appointed. Thus, the subject matter expert adjudicator can efficiently and effectively resolve an adjudication. Whatever profession one practises- so far, they have the passion and the zeal to serve as an adjudicator and get basic knowledge and continuous learning on adjudication.
 
Conclusion
This essay has provided a holistic analysis of Adjudication and its similarities and differences with Litigation while concluding that it is essential to acquire skills, knowledge and experience in Adjudication practice. As well as joining an adjudication organisation like the Guild of Adjudicators in Nigeria (GAIN). Thus, the blogger hopes potential users and would-be users will take on board the many benefits mentioned herein and opt for ADR, particularly Adjudication, in the case of any arising dispute or conflicts in future.

Click here to listen to the full version of Episode 21 of EVA.

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