The Lagos Multidoor Court (LMDC) House on Wednesday urged litigants to utilise Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Techniques in the settlement of disputes across the state.
The Chairman of the LMDC, Governing Council, Hon. Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi, spoke at a news conference to celebrate Lagos State at 50, as well to mark 15 years of the LMDC.
The LMDC was founded on June 11, 2002, with a task of promoting alternative settlement of disputes in the state.
Part of its ADR techniques include Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation and Negotiation, Early Neutral Evaluation and Hybrid processes.
Olateru-Olagbegi said that the multi-door courthouse concept is a revolutionary justice reform initiative which transforms the mono-litigation door of the courthouse into a multi-door programme.
According to him, disputants, under the programme, 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 was unrivaled in blazing the trail of excellence in every field of endeavour and continued to be a model for other states of the federation.
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 a 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 over the past 15 years, and had become a game changer in the dispute resolution industry.
The chairman said 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 include referral to the LMDC.
“Recognising the need for the professionalisation 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 filed daily in our law courts at both first instance and appellate levels, impounding 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 courts refer all cases that are amenable to ADR centres like the LMDC, then our courts will have a more manageable docket,” he said
Olateru-Olagbegi stressed that mediation is most highly recommended in all civil cases where there exist a middle ground to negotiate and shift positions.
“In this clime, victory at the polls provides easy access to power, and legal challenges to the victory of an opponent is a 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,” he said.
Olateru-Olagbegi, therefore, urged a resort to means of ADR by litigants in a bid to fast track the justice process.
Several other top officials of the LMDC were also at the event.