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Delayed justice: NICArb to hold conference, advocates improved alternative dispute resolution

The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) has restated the need for more Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in order to drastically reduce high volume…

The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) has restated the need for more Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in order to drastically reduce high volume of cases before few judges at various courts across the country and address long delay in justice delivery.
The body urged all relevant stakeholders, including counsel, judges and governments to promote arbitration, especially in matters that ought not to be filed in court, advising organisations to always incorporate ADR clause in contract drafting.
The Registrar of the institute, Shola Oshodi-John, gave the advice on Saturday in Lagos, at a press briefing ahead of NICArb 2023 Annual Arbitrators Conference slated for November 15-17 at Continental Hotel (Formerly Sheraton Hotel) in Abuja.
She said, “As an institute, we do a lot in terms of promoting arbitration. The process is voluntary and you cannot force it on the people. So, it is when the people are aware of these mechanisms that they can begin to make use of them. That is when we will begin to have fewer cases in law courts. Having said that, there is a role that lawyers need to play in terms of being able to advise our clients to not just rush to court on every matter.
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“The matters that can be resolved through ADR should be handled as such. A lot is happening in this regard but unfortunately we still have a lot of lawyers that are not helping in terms of giving their clients’ [right] advice. Another area that is critical to decongest the court system is by ensuring that matters that parties have signed on to under arbitration should be handled by arbitrators.”
Oshodi-John stated that this year’s annual international conference, which will be hosted by NICArb President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Professor Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), would address issues on cross-border practice of arbitration and ADR in Africa and beyond, commercial and investor-state arbitration in Nigeria, managing bias in arbitral processes, emerging trends in arbitration and ADR in the United States and United Arab Emirates.
The conference will also be focused on how to carve a niche within the arbitration amd ADR space, arbitration clauses, enforcement and recognition challenges, leace, security and sustainable growth in Africa, arbitrating construction disputes in Nigeria, technology and arbitration, the place of traditional arbitration/ADR in the Nigerian justice delivery system, among others.
“The NICArb conference is a highly anticipated gathering that brings together legal and other professionals, arbitrators, mediators, academics, and industry experts from around Africa. With the theme ‘repositioning Arbitration and ADR practices in Africa,’ this year’s conference promises to be an engaging and enlightening experience for all attendees.
“The conference will meticulously dissect the intricate interplay between mediation, arbitration and their impact on peace, security, and sustainable growth. It will deliberate on how effective alternative dispute resolution can address grievances, defuse tensions, and maintain stability within nations and regions.
“The event will reveal the nuances of integrating these practices into the African socio-political fabric by providing a platform for experts, scholars, and practitioners to exchange insights,” she said.
The registrar further noted that the upcoming event would x-ray the “increasing benefits of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and its worldwide recognition, massive popularity, and wide acceptance as not just the primary and preferred means, but also the most effective means of dispute resolution outside the traditional courtrooms”.
She noted that the first day of the conference would be devoted to hosting sessions with sub-themes centered around young and upcoming arbitrators to promote and encourage their involvement in the practice of arbitration/ADR, given their pivotal position as the next generation to ensure a smooth transition and broader acceptance of arbitration and ADR practice amongst professionals.
John-Oshodi expressed enthusiasm that participants would find great value in the many sessions and sub-themes which will be vigorously discussed.
She added, “The conference will also feature a showcase of cutting-edge technologies and tools that are revolutionizing the field of dispute resolution. Attendees will be able to explore the latest advancements and learn how to enhance their practice and deliver more efficient and effective outcomes for their clients. At the same time, receive valuable insights and expand their professional network, including earning Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits.
“She further disclosed that the conference is open to both physical and virtual attendees and called on intending participants to visit the institute’s website: https://www.nicarb.org for more details and to register at https://bit.ly/nicarb2023ac.”

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