The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati, in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by virtue of Section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), released the Federal High Court (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2018 on 14 December 2018.
The objective of the Rules as described in Order 1 is to enhance access to justice by providing alternative mechanisms to supplement litigation in the resolution of disputes. The Rules are designed to minimize frustration and delays in justice delivery by providing a standard procedural framework for the fair and efficient settlement of disputes through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms.
The Rules provide for the establishment of a Dispute Resolution Centre, a Director responsible for the administration of the Centre, Registrar of the Centre and an Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for the smooth and effective management of the centre. The Rules confer roles on the Court, Counsel and disputing parties to facilitate the use of the Centre and adopt ADR methods in settlement of disputes.
The Rules also provide for confidentiality of ADR proceedings and non-disclosure of information obtained in the process of ADR. Where parties have not reached a resolution, the matter shall be referred back to Court for hearing. However, where a dispute resolution session has been completed, the settlement agreement signed by the parties becomes enforceable as a contract between the parties.
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