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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Onnoghen to judges: Delayed justice unattractive to investors

Onnoghen to judges: Delayed justice unattractive to investors

Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), says a justice system riddled with delays will be unattractive to investors.

Onnoghen said this on Wednesday while speaking at the national seminar on construction law.

The CJN said alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms will drastically reduce the volume of cases before the courts encouraging investments.

“My lords, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, it goes without saying that a justice system which is riddled with delays in the adjudication of cases will be unattractive to investors,” he said.

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“It is also instructive to note that, where alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms are effectively deployed, same will drastically reduce the volume of cases before our courts. Such a system will encourage investment as investors will be confident that their assets and investments are secured.

Onnoghen said the multi-door courthouse has been introduced across the country to make ADR easily accessible and to encourage litigants to access the various dispute resolution mechanisms available.

“I have directed at several fora such as this, that courts must ensure that contracts where arbitration clauses are inserted must first go through arbitration before exploring the option of litigation; as this will not only reduce the load of cases but also bring about speedy trials, encourage case flow management, increase investors’ confidence in the construction sector and further strengthen the economy,” he said.

“I urge the concerned heads of courts to make practice directions that will dissuade litigants who institute actions without first exploring the arbitration clauses in contracts.

“Judges should also encourage ADR mechanisms in cases that are less contentious before them as this aids decongestion of our courts. It is important to note that the use of ADR mechanisms in your courts also form part of the quarterly performance evaluation for judges.”

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