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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a Means to Improve Access to Timely Justice and a Pathway to Economic Growth in Nigeria
AuthorOkeke, Agatha A.
AdvisorMarsh, Shawn C.
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AbstractAlternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a tool for settling disputes outside the traditional judicial process held by the formal courts. ADR arose because the litigation process is expensive, prolonged, and fraught with technicalities. Business operators tend to prefer the private resolution of their disputes as opposed to open court proceedings. The process reduces antagonism and hostility, saving business relationships, as well as encouraging continued cordiality among the parties. The Nigerian Constitution provides for the settlement of disputes by arbitration, mediation, conciliation, negotiation, and adjudication. Negotiation involves two or more parties holding discussions to develop an agreement on matters of mutual concern. Conciliation entails settling disputes by consensus as opposed to adjudication. Mediation is a negotiation involving the assistance of a neutral third party. Arbitration is the reference of a dispute between two or more people for determination by a person or persons, other than a court of competent jurisdiction, after judicially hearing both sides. Arbitration, commonly classified as a kind of ADR process and perceived as a preferable method, is cheaper, quicker, flexible, informal, confidential, preserves the relationship of disputants, and reduces the workload of judges. The ADR mechanisms strengthen judicial modernization, unclog the courts, increase access to justice, reduce cost, support economic development by cutting costs of resolving disputes, and increase certainty in business investments. ADR permits claimants to present claims they could not litigate before in court, thereby improving access to justice. This thesis presents a contextual understanding of ADR, access to justice, and economic growth in Nigeria.