THE CONCEPT OF ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)
You might have heard of alternate dispute resolution, commonly known as ADR. What does ADR entail? What does it and how is it more advantageous as to litigation?
Disputes are generally an inevitable part of human interaction; they may be domestic, international, civil, commercial or economic in nature. Litigation has been the traditional method of resolving disputes, which may arise as a result of default (sometimes unintended) by a party.
Overtime, the process of litigation has become more and more time consuming, expensive and cumbersome and increase in the number of cases in courts have led to congestion and delay in their resolution.
Some Disputes are sensitive and confidential in nature and disputants may prefer settlement in private to one in public glare of court. In addition, the complexity of court litigation tends often times towards increase in costs which disputants are naturally anxious to reduce. On the other hand, there may be claims involving small sums, which may not be worth the cost of litigation. All these have led to the development of alternative methods of resolving disputes.
The term “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR), is used generally to describe the methods and procedures used in resolving disputes either as alternatives to the traditional dispute resolution mechanism of the court or in some cases supplementary to such mechanisms.
ADR arose largely because the litigation process was and still is, unduly expensive- in the long-run and especially prolonged as a result of judicial technicalities embedded in that method of dispute resolution.
Apart from the fact that businessmen and women now prefer private resolution of their disputes to exposure to the machinery available in the glare of the regular courts, there is the advantage that settlement through ADR avoids what can be best described as brinkmanship and acrimony, which often times arise in litigation. It reduces hostility and antagonism; but most importantly, ADR saves business relationships and encourages a continued cordiality between the parties. These are made largely possible because the procedure provides greater room for compromise than litigation.
In modern times, litigation which has hitherto been the principal method of resolving commercial disputes is now being complemented by other methods of dispute resolution. Owing to the exigencies of commercial transactions, many countries in the world now apply alternative methods of dispute resolution.
In Nigeria, Arbitration and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is given constitutional backing as a means of settlement of disputes. Specifically, Section 19 (d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the settlement of disputes by Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation, Negotiation and Adjudication.
This is in recognition of the crucial role Arbitration and other forms of ADR now play in the resolution of various types of disputes. The constitutional status accorded Arbitration and other forms of ADR for the settlement of disputes is a complementary role to the judicial powers conferred on the Courts by the Constitution.
WRITTEN BY: CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM
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