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LEAD DEBATE ON THE NATIONAL ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION REGULATORY COMMISSION BILL

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LEAD DEBATE ON THE NATIONAL ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION REGULATORY COMMISSION BILL

Sponsored by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, OFR, SAN.

 

Mr. President, my Distinguished Senators, I thank you for the privilege to lead the debates the general principles of this Bill coming from the House of Representatives for concurrence.

The Bill was read for the first time in this Chamber on 23rd November, 2011. The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulatory Commission.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (also known as external dispute resolution) includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement short of litigation. Basically, it is an alternative to a formal court hearing or litigation. It is a collective term for the ways that parties can settle disputes with (or without) the help of a third party.

Mr. President, Distinguished colleagues, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) are ways and methods of resolving disputes outside the judicial process (formal litigation- court) Despite historic resistance by, many popular parties and their advocates, ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and legal profession in recent years. Infact some court now require some parties to resort to ADR of some type.

The modus operandi for Alternative Dispute Resolution generally include classified at least five types, namely:

  1. Arbitration
  2. Collaborative
  3. Law
  4. Mediation
  5. Negotiations

The Objective of this Bill is to establish a regulatory regime for the practice of alternative dispute resolution by establishing the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission to:

  1. Regulate through the process of accreditation, all Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies and institutions engaged in practice, training, education or skill acquisition in alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
  2. Advise the Federal and State Government on the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
  3. Develop an alternative dispute resolution policy for Nigeria.
  4. Maintain a register of Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies and institutions in Nigeria.
  5. 5.Set and maintain in training curriculum of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria.
  6. Undertake public enlightenment programmes on the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution as effective means of settlement of disputes.
  7. Develop and maintain relations with international Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies and organizations with a view to attaining best International Standards and practices in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  8. Organize local and international seminars, workshops and conferences for users and practitioners.
  9. Develop and constantly review rules and regulations for the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Mr. President, my respected colleagues, benefits from the Alternative Dispute Resolution have been both increasingly used alongside, and integrated formally, into the legal systems, these includes:

  1. Suitability for multi-party disputes
  2. Flexibility of procedures-the process is determined and controlled by the parties
  3. Lower costs
  4. Less complexity
  5. Parties’ choice of neutral third party
  6. Likelihood and speed of settlements
  7. Practical solutions tailored to parties’ interests and need
  8. Durability of agreements and
  9. Confidentiality and the preservation of relationship and reputation.

Mr. President, my distinguished colleagues, my fears for this Commission which this Bill seeks to establish is the issue of Government funding. Institutions like this should be sustained and not to rely on Government funding. I suggest that when it is passed to the Committee probably on Judiciary, section 11 (2) (a) be expunged to allow the Commission then for itself through fees and subscriptions.

I strongly recommend this Bill for second reading because it is an attempt to entrenching the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism into our legal system for an effective and efficient Criminal Justice System. This will bring about radical reduction of the backlog of criminal cases in the Judicial System.

Mr. President, my respected colleagues, as already indicated, I am not in support of this Commission’s reliance on government funding, it should be self sustaining and as result, there is no compendium of the financial implication attached. The Commission will rely solely on fees and subscriptions and other sources of funding which includes donation from individuals, testamentary and others proceeds that may from time to time accrue to the Commission.

I therefore urge you all to support this Bill and give it an accelerated passage.

 

Thank you.

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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria