The President, Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban -Mensem on Monday in Abuja, said it was essential for the judiciary to rise up and meet the challenges of adjudication in the 21st century.
Justice Dongban-Mensem said this in Abuja as the Court of Appeal formally kick-started Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system.
The president who was speaking at the inaugural court session of the appellate court’s mediation center expressed optimism that the challenges, when met, would attract more international trade and foreign direct investment to the country.
She also said that good performance on the part of the country’s judiciary would improve employment and domestic economic growth.
Declaring the inaugural court session open, Dongban-Mensem recalled that the new system was initiated in 2018 as a way of ensuring speedy and efficient dispensation of justice.
She also said the system was to promote an amicable alternative to the adversarial justice system.
She further said that the ADR represented an innovation which, if fully utilised, would introduce a multi- track justice delivery system to the appellate level and further boost justice delivery.
“Appellate mediation is now part of the global legal lexicon, straddling the appellate courts of countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom and Thailand.
“The overriding objective of the Court of Appeal’s mediation centre is to promote mediation and such other alternative dispute resolution mechanism towards enhancing the administration of justice and speedy resolution of disputes,” she said.
The president maintained that the new system would assist parties in reaching an expeditious resolution of their disputes in good faith in a fair and efficient manner.
“We must not only build a structure but a mindset that will drive the process of alternative, less expensive and less onerous dispute resolution process such as mediation.
“There is also need for us to build a culture where peaceful resolution of disputes becomes more attractive than litigation.”
She appealed to the bar and bench to uphold the ideals of the center for quick and amicable resolution of disputes by imbibing the highest code of ethics and global best practices.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the appellants present at the session, a businessman, Mr Ned Nwoko described the ADR as a right step in the right direction.
Nwoko appealed to Nigerians to imbibe the new justice dispensation system.
Mr Gregory Lar, another appellant also told newsmen that it was a laudable development as it was in sync with global best practices.
According to him, this is a step in the right direction because the international community will know that once there is a dispute in investment, there is a procedure for resolution within a limited time.