EXPANDING COMMERCIAL ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) INSTITUTIONS AND MECHANISMS IN NIGERIA
In the last two decades, there was obvious and significant development of formal ADR in Nigeria, from an initial base of almost no ADR. The proliferation of ADR reflected two interesting developments: first the “warming up” to ADR partly for its novelty and partly as an opportunistic move, and second the perceived relief from the deep and long-standing frustration with the conventional justice delivery system. The first development created the need for a regulatory framework to ensure an orderly development of this new industry, and to avoid the consequences of a sporadic development on standards and behavior. The second development was the focus of this project. Expanding the reach of ADR institutions and mechanisms, regardless of how remotely located they may be, was a key goal of this project.
This project in Nigeria targeted three highly varied states, as prospective role models for other states in Africa’s most populous country. In the states of Lagos, Kaduna and Abia, the project:
assessed the prospects for ADR of several types;
examined and recommend particular types of cases most appropriate for inclusion or exclusion in ADR schemes, with particular emphasis on micro, small and medium enterprises;
evaluated the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse and Citizens Mediation Center with the object of determining the degree to which they can be replicated in other states;
evaluated and provided recommendations on ways and institutions to establish and manage court annexed, court connected and freestanding ADR mechanisms, including ways to fund them;
established qualification and training schemes for arbitrators and mediators;
recommended ways of collaborating with existing private-sector providers of ADR training and services;
developed complementary public awareness and sensitization programs aimed at key stakeholder groups;
drafted appropriate laws and regulations for expansion of ADR schemes;
developed operational manuals for ADR mechanisms and institutions;
developed capacity for training of key stakeholder groups such as judges and members of the legal profession, working with academic institutions and other curriculum providers; and
recommended methods and indicators for monitoring the effectiveness of results achieved.