The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has expressed concern over what he described as unending litigation in courts, pointing out that the delay in justice delivery has scared away potential investors from the country.
He directed judges to, henceforth, encourage litigants to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, mechanism in less contentious cases, noting that this would help in the decongestion of courts.
The nation’s chief justice spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2018 National Seminar on Construction Law for Judges, held at National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja.
He charged courts to ensure that contracts where arbitration clauses are inserted, must first go through arbitration before the litigation option is explored, adding that this “will encourage case flow management, increase investors’ confidence in the construction sector and further strengthen the economy.”
Onnoghen warned that use of ADR mechanism would form part of the quarterly performance evaluation for judges.
He said: “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.
“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.
“Despite so many laws regulating the construction sector, it has been faced with a myriad of challenges, which has made it unattractive to investors. The most crucial challenge as it relates to Judges is the seeming unending litigations in our courts.”