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Judicial system not designed to ensure peace, CJN says

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, said yesterday that the judicial system is not designed to ensure peace. Justice Onnoghen said this…

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, said yesterday that the judicial system is not designed to ensure peace.

Justice Onnoghen said this while sharing his thoughts on judicial policy towards arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the ongoing 2018 Annual Conference and Gala Nite of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Nigeria Branch.

During the interactive session anchored by former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, the CJN said, “Having experienced both sides of formal court system and the traditional arbitration, I can assure you and I want you to know that the judicial system is not designed to ensure peace. If you want peace, don’t go to courts.”

He added that this was because in courts “you are either right or wrong. We determine the rights, liabilities and responsibilities of parties. It is not designed to ensure peace.”

However, when parties go into arbitration or settlement outside of courts, Justice Onnoghen said with “no formalities, you are free and when you are free, there is understanding, which in turn can guarantee a win-win resolution.”

On perceived inefficiency of the courts to judiciously and timeously resolve commercial disputes, the CJN said, “It is not correct that the system is inefficient”, adding that a major challenge include lack of honesty on the parts of parties that approach the court for adjudication.

The Chairman of the CIArb Nigeria branch, Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour on her part said arbitration and the ADR mechanisms were not meant to rival the court system but to complement it. She said instead “they are partners in justice delivery”, stressing that with more people participating in the arbitration process, the court dockets would be decongested.

The Minister of Justice and AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the President of CIArb (UK), James Bridgeman (SC) in their addresses charged Nigerians to explore the gains of arbitration and ADR mechanisms in their dispute resolutions.