By Kenneth Atavti
The Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, NJI, Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi has hinted that the goals of modern justice system delivery can be achieved by deploying technology, finding the appropriate balance between accurate fact-finding and the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time frame.
He stated this yesterday, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 National Workshop on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Judges and Kadis, at the Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium, National Judicial Institute, Abuja.
According to Garba, the process will require the resolve of all stakeholders to allow the “wheel of justice grind exceedingly fine without grinding slowly to a halt”.
Speaking on the delay in justice delivery, he said the problem has “become a cause of concern for many in Nigeria; hence the need to reiterate to litigants to resort to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where the law provides”.
He posited that as the society continues to evolve, crimes and disputes continue to take different dimension and would require a more proactive approach that is in tuned with current reality to handle.
“ADR more often than not, is faster than conventional litigation. The need to keep updating your knowledge on ADR Mechanisms, Practice and Procedure which when appropriately deployed in adjudication will not only fast track our justice system, but mitigate hardships encountered in litigation as well as promote a win-win situation for parties involved as opposed to the results and perceptions often associated to litigation,” he added.
Highlighting on the theme: ‘Achieving the goal of a modern justice system’, Garba noted that the targets set to be accomplished by the judiciary in recent times have evolved to be more challenging than what was in place before now.
While noting that this is the first time judges and Kadis are brought together to deliberate on ADR and its application as it relates to fulfilling the objectives of a modern justice system, he disclosed that topics such as: ADR mechanisms: practice and procedures under Islamic law among others, have been slated for discussion in the workshop.
“Rules governing different ADR mechanisms are not as stringent as those obtained in the general Civil Procedure Rules. ADR creates room for resolution of a dispute by a neutral third party or tribunal in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Over the years, the primary methods of ADR practiced in Nigeria have remained three and they are: Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration.
“These mechanisms have gained widespread acceptance in trade and commercial disputes, to the extent that in a number of jurisdictions, the Civil Procedure Rules encourages parties to explore all ADR mechanisms where there is an arbitration clause in a contract before resorting to the court. This is a positive development as it helps to save the precious time of our judges and litigants,” he added.