S/African aca­demic pro­poses le­gal­i­sa­tion of me­di­a­tion in Nigeria

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Habibu Umar Aminu

A Pro­fes­sor of Law at the Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity in South Africa David But­ler has ad­vo­cated for leg­is­la­tion in Nigeria that will pro­mote ef­fec­tive use of con­sen­sual me­di­a­tion in re­solv­ing dis­putes as against ar­bi­tra­tions in courts.

But­ler said this at the 2014 an­nual lec­ture and re­union din­ner of In­ter­na­tional Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion In­sti­tute [IDRI] in Abuja.

Me­di­a­tion is a flex­i­ble process con­ducted con­fi­den­tially in which a neu­tral per­son ac­tively as­sists par­ties in work­ing to­wards a ne­go­ti­ated agree­ment of a dis­pute.

The South African aca­demic said me­di­a­tion al­lows par­ties in a dis­pute to be in ul­ti­mate con­trol of the de­ci­sion to set­tle and the terms of res­o­lu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the func­tion of the me­di­a­tor is help­ing par­ties to have a “dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions’’ adding that me­di­a­tion is a sen­si­ble al­ter­na­tive and nec­es­sary pre­cur­sor to ar­bi­tra­tion and lit­i­ga­tion.

“I am con­vinced that me­di­a­tion has a bright fu­ture as an ef­fec­tive method for re­solv­ing trans-bor­der commercial dis­putes in Africa. Con­sen­sual me­di­a­tion is the new trend as op­posed to court-an­nexed or statu­tory me­di­a­tion. It is more ef­fec­tive and re­source­ful,’’ he said.

He said me­di­a­tion should be con­sid­ered be­fore re­sort­ing to ar­bi­tra­tion be­cause it saves time and costs not­ing that “a so­lu­tion can­not be im­posed and is an op­por­tu­nity for an in­ter­est-based so­lu­tion.”

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