The Lagos Multidoor Court House (LMDC) has called on politicians to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in settling election disputes.
Chairman of the LMDC, Governing Council, Hon. Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi made the statement at a news conference to mark the celebration of Lagos State at 50, as well to mark 15 years of the LMDC.
He added: “In this clime, victory at the polls provides easy access to power, and legal challenges to the victory of an opponent, is high-stake project fought by their legal surrogates with a lot of bitterness that heats up the polity.
“Therefore, mediation is also highly recommended to political parties as a mechanism for the resolution of pre and post-election disputes amongst party members.
According to him, the LMDC, which was founded on June 11, 2002, with a task of promoting alternative settlement of disputes in the state, has helped to fast-track the justice process.
Part of its ADR techniques includes: Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation and Negotiation, Early Neutral Evaluation and Hybrid processes.
In his opening address, Olateru-Olagbegi stated that the LMDC concept is a revolutionary justice reform initiative, which transforms the mono litigation door of the courthouse, into a multi-door programme.
According to him, under the programme, disputants are offered an array of dispute resolution options to explore, and in this way, every dispute is fitted into the mold that is most appropriate for it’s resolution.
He said that Lagos State has been unrivaled in blazing the trail of excellence in every field of endeavour and continues to be a model for other states of the federation to emulate.
Olateru-Olagbegi said that the enormous benefits of the concept are that it enhances access to Justice within the court system and provides consumers of justice with cost effective and satisfactory alternatives to litigation.
He said that the LMDC had grown from its days of infancy into a full-fledged ADR service organisation, and that it’s activities in the past 15 years has become a game changer in the dispute resolution industry.
He noted that the Lagos settlement week, which was introduced in 2009, was set aside by the Chief Judge of Lagos State to clear the backlog of cases through means, which included referral to the LMDC.
“Recognising the need for the professionalization of the ADR practice, the LMDC has taken the high ground of training mediators and providing ample opportunity for them to hone their skills.
“An astronomical number of cases with increasing complexities are filled daily in our law courts at both first instance and appellate levels impounding a monumental pressure on our judicial system.
“In the Lagos State Judiciary for example, 7,063 cases were filed in the year 2015 and 7,182 in the year 2016; if our law court refer all cases that are amenable to ADR centres like the LMDC, then our court’s will have a more manageable docket,” he said
He stressed that mediation is most highly recommended in all civil cases where there exist a middle ground to negotiate and shift positions.
Dignitaries at the event include the Director of the LMDC, Mrs Caroline Etuk, Prof. Isabella Okagbue, and Hon. Justice O. O Oke.
Others are Hon. Justice A. Oyebanji, Hon. Justice J. E Oyefeso, Deputy Director of the LMDC, Mrs Adeyinka Aroyewun and Relationship Manager of the LMDC, Mrs Justina Chukwuma among others.