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CJN to Nigerians: Don’t rush to courts over minor issues — adopt alternative dispute resolution

CJN to Nigerians: Don’t rush to courts over minor issues — adopt alternative dispute resolution
November 28
22:07 2022

Olukayode Ariwoola, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), says more Nigerians should adopt alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Ariwoola said this on Monday while speaking at the special session of the supreme court to mark the beginning of the 2022/2023 legal year and the swearing-in of 62 new senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN).

The Nigerian public needs to be reminded on the need to do less litigation and embrace more of alternative dispute resolution to free the courts of this unnecessary over-stretching of human and material resources,” he said.

“As rightly observed, Nigerians are the most litigious people on earth; especially the political class. 

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“In every little disagreement, we rush to court; and in every lost case, we rush to appeal even up to the supreme court, no matter how little the issue might be. 

“That has obviously accounted for the several appeals pending in supreme court.”

He said although the apex court has received harsh criticism concerning the backlogs of cases, “we are neither in any position to regulate case inflow to the court nor have the supernatural powers to attend to all in one fell swoop”.

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“We don’t need to rush to court after every little disagreement. We have various alternative dispute resolution mechanisms across the country that we can conveniently leverage on, with a view to freeing the courts of this incessant case overload,” he added.

He also spoke on the need for constitutional amendment to restrict some cases from reaching the supreme court.

“We have said it repeatedly that ordinarily, most appeals should be allowed to end at the court of appeal; but such constitutional provision is yet to be enacted, so we have no blame in it,” he said.

“Rather, we are daily overburdened by that long awaited constitutional amendment as we work round the clock to attend to the plethora of appeals.

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“There should also be amendment of the constitution to stop most interlocutory appeals from coming to the supreme court; they should be allowed to end at the court of appeal.”

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