What's up with ADR?

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." - Martin Luther King

Humanity has always been driven by one force. This force drove the civilizations that occurred in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the ancient city of Kush, Greece and the Great Roman empire. We could have added the mythical city of Atlantis that reportedly went under water.

This force was also instrumental in the building of the Great wall of China. The creation of the Titanic cannot be divorced from this great force.This great force is satisfaction. Man has never been satisfied with his present circumstances, he wants everyhing done better and easier. We see Apple a company worth, presently, $800 billion putting out more to make more profit. We are forced to agree with the economist that man's wants are insatiable.

Thomas Hobbes said man in the state of nature was nasty, brutish and short. However, man evolved from this state to a socio-contract situation where man surrendered his rights to the state. By this, the powers of retributive justice, dispute resolution and law enforcement were given to the Courts.
Man dealt with the Courtroom for centuries. sibylline leaves of law reports piled up and several precedents were laid. Man is still battling with the Courts though. But, man wanted something better.
The Constitution of a country provides for the Courts there are to be. However, as numerous as these Courts are, there are still backlog of cases pending or awaiting trial in Courts. It seems every new day, more cases pile on the ones on ground.


Money is a resource. Time is a resource. Both are scarce but one is more precious. That's time. As rich as multinationals and big business entities are, they have the same 24 hours allocated to everyone by God. African Petroleum v Owodunni is a Nigerian case on the issue of tenancy that took about 8 years before the final decision was given by the Supreme Court. An average range of years before a case gets a final decision by the Supreme Court is 8-12 years. Imagine an interpretation of a clause of a contract taking 10 years?

Nigeria is ranked 145 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. To them, it's an improvement over last year where we were ranked 169. Funny enough, Rwanda is a low income country but the country is ranked 41 out of 190 countries!
A major factor in high ranking is accessibility to the Court and the speed of decision making. Nigeria fails on these grounds.

If we want to get it right in Nigeria, we must realise that disputes and misinterpretations are bound to occur and we must be prepared for them. We cannot get it right early enough with our Court system that is why we have to tap into the ADR Blessing.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is not a new development in law. In fact, it has surfaced severally in the Bible. We can recall in Genesis 18:20-33 where Abraham negotiated with God on behalf of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.  This is negotiation, an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Moses also negotiated for the freedom of the children of Israel.

Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR)is faster and easier to approach. Its feature of emergency arbitration stands it out as disputes are settled in record time. Once the parties to the agreement include the ADR clause(most times, it is called 'Arbitration clause'), they have the option of approaching ADR for settlement. It should be noted that ADR has not come to displace the Courts but has come to aid the Courts in resolving disputes. The major ADR mechanisms to achieve these are: Arbitration, Mediation, Negotiation and Conciliation.

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