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ICMC President pays a courtesy visit to the Chief Judge of Lagos State

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The President of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Chief Emeka J.P. Obegolu, FICMC, FCIArb (UK), paid a courtesy visit to Hon. Justice K.O. Alogba, the Acting Chief Judge of Lagos State on the 19th of June, 2019. He was accompanied by the Registrar of the Institute, Engr. Segun Ogunyannwo, FICMC


Chief Emeka Obegolu congratulated Hon. Justice Alogba on his recent appointment as the Chief Judge of Lagos State. He also informed His Lordship that the Institute is desirous of collaborating with the Lagos State Judiciary to conduct Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Trainings for judicial officers and other staff of the Judiciary, and induct successful candidates into the Institute as Associate Members, Members, and Fellows. 

ICMC Peace Building Visit to the Nigerian Navy


Hon. Justice Alogba thanked the ICMC President and Registrar for their visit and expressed great interest in mainstreaming the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution within his jurisdiction. 


Hon. Justice Alogba and Chief Emeka Obegolu have agreed to engage in further discussions to cement the proposed partnership between the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators and the Lagos State Judiciary.

Training on ADR Registry/Secretarial Services

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The Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (ACCI-DRC), in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), is pleased to introduce the ADR Registry/Secretarial Services Training. 


The Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre is the dispute resolution arm of the Chamber, set up to resolve disputes arising out of commercial transactions. 


The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators is the professional body of practitioners with the mandate to regulate the practice of Mediation, train prospective candidates and encourage organizations and institutions to adopt Mediation and Conciliation as the primary mechanisms for addressing disputes. 


This course will give participants a background knowledge of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and equip participants with the necessary skills to serve as ADR Registrars/Secretaries in Arbitration, Mediation, and other ADR proceedings. 

Who exactly is an ADR Registrar/Secretary?


ADR practice has evolved, and the services of ADR Registrars/Secretaries are essential to the smooth running of ADR proceedings. ADR Secretarial Services afford you the unique opportunity to understudy experienced Arbitrators, Mediators, and other ADR practitioners and acclimate yourself with the workings of real-life ADR proceedings.


This training is designed to be interactive and practical. Our team, which has been carefully selected, will provide relevant information on the procedures for various ADR proceedings, and give practical illustrations of the duty of ADR Registrars/Secretaries based on their extensive experience. 


On the successful completion of this course, participants will be regarded as Certified ADR Registrars/Secretaries, be inducted into the Institute of Chartered ADR Secretaries and will be eligible to be appointed upon referral by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre.


It is a two-day program, and the course fee is N40,000 only. Payment should please be made in favour of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre; Ecobank; 2203066086

Participants will have the unique opportunity to attend Arbitration moot proceedings scheduled to hold July 12, 2019 by 12pm.


For further enquiries and confirmation of your registration, kindly contact Chidimma (0803 836 2043) or Kereti (0807 414 9864)

Honing your Mediation Skills- Practice what you Preach

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A while back, this picture was floating around several social media platforms. We all had a good laugh over it and promptly moved on. However, it got me thinking, and I realized the picture; while amusing, holds a great truth. Dispute Resolution Practitioners often find themselves in situations that test their patience and conflict resolution skills, and sometimes, they fail to put those skills to use.


I have found that it is rather easy to give advice and a tad more challenging to take this advice yourself. I found myself in this predicament recently; let me tell you a story.


A colleague made a negative comment about my work which I found offensive. It made me incredibly angry; thinking back now, I believe it is safe to say it made me unreasonably angry. While I was fuming, I narrated this “ordeal” to one of my bosses, who advised me to take the comment as constructive criticism and move on. I refused to move on. I let myself stew in that anger for quite some time.


My boss had finally had enough of my attitude and gave me quite the scolding. At the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), we teach two (2) fundamental principles of human relations- “No one can make you angry without your consent” and “You have no control over what people say or do, but you have control of your response.” He reminded me that as Mediators and Trainers of Mediation Skills, we teach this to our participants and must live it as well.

I admit I was somewhat embarrassed after that wake-up call. But it taught me an invaluable lesson- Mediation skills are genuinely life skills.


By undergoing Mediation Skills training, we have done ourselves an excellent service by equipping ourselves with much-needed communication, human relations, and dispute resolution skills. As certified Mediators, we must hone these newly acquired skills and put them to use in our everyday lives.

Why Alternative Dispute Resolution?


I have come to understand that it is not enough to call your self a Dispute Resolution practitioner; you have to show people, and yourself, that you are a Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Ever since that incident, whenever I am faced with a situation that tests my patience, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am a Mediator and I must practice what I preach.


Learn to imbibe your Mediation skills. Honing your Mediation skills improves your personal lives and your interactions with your family, friends, and colleagues, which by extension helps you fulfill your mandate of peacemaking.

ICMC Direct Admission to Fellow Cadre Course in Abuja

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Greetings from the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC).


The Institute is offering non-members the opportunity to participate in a two-day Special Fellowship Course, leading to the induction of successful candidates as Fellows of the Institute.


The Fellowship grade is the Institute’s highest level of professional recognition. 


The persons qualified to participate in this course are:


• Serving and Retired Judges, Khadis of Sharia Courts of Appeal and Judges of Customary Courts of Appeal

• Executive Directors and Heads of Public and Private Establishments/Enterprises 

• Serving Civil Servants of GL 15 (Assistant Director) and above

• Holders of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in any field 

• Holders of a Master’s degree, in any field, obtained at least 5 years preceding the date of application 

• Holders of a Bachelor’s degree, in any field, obtained at least 15 years preceding the date of application 

• Legal practitioners with a minimum of 15 years post call practice experience 


The Fellowship course is scheduled as follows:

Date: 20-21 May, 2019

Venue: Fraser Suites, Central Business District, Abuja

Time: 8am-4pm daily

Course fee: N750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand Naira) only


Payment should please be made in favour of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators; Zenith bank; Account number: 1012451855.


For enquiries please contact Irene (08066292907), Chimdimma (08063816153) or Chidy (09099359008). 


We look forward to warmly welcoming you to this course.

ICMC President urges Management and Staff of NASS to employ best practices in dispute resolution

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The President of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Emeka J.P. Obegolu, urged the Management and Staff of the National Assembly of Nigeria to employ best practices in dispute resolution. 


This President made this call during his presentation at the one-day Workshop themed “Awareness on Management/Union Relations.” Emeka Obegolu explained the principles of Negotiation and Mediation as effective dispute resolution mechanisms. 
Speaking to the theme, which was borne out of the continuous conflicts and recent picketing of the National Assembly by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), which invariably led to the creation of a Labour Relations Division under the auspices of Management Services Department, he centered his presentation on Negotiation on Collective Bargaining, detailing the process and challenges which may arise. 


He advised the Management and Staff of the National Assembly of Nigeria to consider revamping their dispute resolution methods to accommodate Mediation and Negotiation, which allow parties to design a process that suits their needs and interests and encourage a consensual rather than adversarial approach.


The ICMC President, on behalf of the Governing Council of the Institute, invited all present to participate in the Institute’s Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training. His presentation was well received by the participants, and they all showed great enthusiasm to undergo further training and employ Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms in the resolution of their disputes.

Click here to view the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators 2019 Calendar of Training

Who exactly is an ADR Registrar/Secretary?

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In 2018, the Dispute Resolution Centre of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DRC-ACCI), in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), introduced the training on ADR Registry/Secretarial Services.

As the Training & Communications Officer of ICMC and one of the officers coordinating the training, I receive a good number of enquiries as regards the training along the lines of; “Will this training qualify me for appointment as a Registrar of a Court of Law?”, “I am in full-time litigation practice. Will this affect my job?”, “I’ve never heard of an ADR Secretary before, can you tell me about it?”, “I’m already a member of ICMC, what do I need this certification for?”, “I’m not a member of ICMC, can I still participate in this course?”, “Once I get the certificate, will you appoint me?”, “Chimdimma, I want to resolve disputes, I want to manage the process, why are you trying to reduce me to secretarial services?”. The questions are endless really, and as an Institute we appreciate every call, text or email we receive. However, in some way these enquiries all boil down to one question; Who exactly is an ADR Registrar/Secretary?

The motivation behind this article is to answer this question, and go further to explain why registering for this training is a good step for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practitioners and individuals looking to enter into ADR practice.

An ADR Registrar/Secretary is an individual who is tasked with handling administrative duties for the duration of Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation, and other ADR proceedings. They are often referred to as either ADR Registrars or ADR Secretaries.

Out of all the ADR mechanisms, I must say the use of ADR Registrars/Secretaries is most prominent in Arbitration; hence the term “Arbitral Registrars/Secretaries”.

Although ADR Registrars/Secretaries are not part of the tribunal of Neutrals in the proceedings, they play a rather important role. These individuals assist the Neutrals in ensuring the smooth-running of the proceedings. This assistance may amount to handling scheduling, taking notes, and such other administrative tasks.

Although this area of ADR practice is largely neglected compared to others, it is a skill that will be useful to all ADR practitioners, especially those with little or no practice experience. This is a good entryway into ADR practice. For instance, say you are a certified Arbitrator but in the years since successfully completing your training and obtaining certification, you have had no opportunity to practice. By serving as an ADR Registrar/Secretary in arbitral proceedings, you have the unique opportunity to understudy more experienced Arbitrators and get yourself acquainted with how the process works. With time, if you are diligent enough, you will be able to conduct Arbitration on your own.

Why Alternative Dispute Resolution?

This goes for other ADR mechanisms as well, ADR Registry/Secretarial Services is not limited to Arbitration. Article 8 of the Conciliation Rules contained in the Third Schedule of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap 18, LFN 2004, makes provision for Administrative Assistance, which includes but is not limited to ADR Registry/Secretarial Services.

For those with full-time jobs, I would like to remind you that one of the defining features and advantages of ADR is its flexibility; meaning with the consent of all parties involved, you can schedule your sessions taking your office hours into consideration. If you choose, you can schedule your ADR proceedings to hold in the evenings or during the weekends.

As a professional, irrespective of your discipline, it is always in your best interest to acquire additional skills and improve your capacity. According to Rachael Osibu, FICMC, MCIArb (UK), a highly experienced ADR Registrar/Secretary, you can never over-emphasize the importance of the openness to learn and the need to sharpen your soft skills.

For registration for the ADR Registry/Secretarial Services Training of ICMC and DRC-ACCI and/further enquiries, kindly send a mail to icmctrainings@gmail.com

If you need an in-road into ADR practice, or you are already an active ADR practitioner looking develop your skills in other practice areas, then this course is for you.

By Chimdimma Onyedebelu

Training & Communications Officer, ICMC

Online Dispute Resolution

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“Now that society has embraced technology so thoroughly, the key question for dispute resolution professional is, how can we leverage technology to best assist parties in resolving their disputes?”

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a field of Dispute Resolution, which uses technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties whether or not they occurred online or offline. It inculcates the principles of alternative forms of dispute resolution such as arbitration, negotiation or mediation etc. However, ODR is no longer a novelty but the future of ADR as it augments the traditional means of resolving disputes by applying innovative techniques and online technologies to the process.

Dispute resolution techniques range from methods where parties have full control of the procedure, to methods where a third party is in control of both the process and the outcome. These primary methods of resolving disputes may be complemented with Information and Communication Technology (ICT). When the process is conducted mainly online, it is referred to as ODR, i.e. to carry out most of the dispute resolution procedures online, including the initial filing, the neutral appointment, evidentiary processes, oral hearings if needed, online discussions, and even the rendering of binding settlements. Thus, ODR is a different medium for resolving disputes, from beginning to end, respecting due process principles.

ODR techniques are already being deployed around the world in resolving a wide range of disagreements arising from e-commerce, from quarrels amongst citizens to conflicts between individuals and the state. ODR is not appropriate for all classes of dispute, but on the face of it, is best placed to help settle high volumes of relatively low value disputes especially those of financial nature, but at much less expense and inconvenience than conventional courts or conventional arbitration.

In its earlier days, ODR was used mainly to resolve disputes that occurred over the course of internet transactions such as disputes between Internet Service Providers and their subscribers or between buyers and sellers on online platforms. In 1999, eBay, an online sales platform, carried out an ODR pilot project in which they were able to resolve over 200 cases in two weeks. Now eBay alone resolves around 60 million disagreements amongst traders yearly.

It is believed that efficient mechanisms to resolve online disputes will influence the development of e-commerce. While the application of ODR is not limited to disputes arising from business to consumer online transactions, it seems to be particularly apt for these disputes, since it is logical to use the same medium (the internet) for the resolution of e-commerce disputes when parties are frequently located far from one another.

The concept of ODR is still not very common in Nigeria; there is however, a huge market for ADR experts in ODR in Nigeria if the proper legal framework is put in place and other modalities for its success worked out. With the introduction of e-businesses in Nigeria such as Konga, Jumia, Yudala, Paga, Jiji, etc and also online job recruitment platforms such as  Jobberman, ngcareers etc  not forgetting organizations offering all sorts of opportunities online to the general public, the numbers of online engagement and transactions keep growing daily, there is a huge growing potential for ODR and if properly utilized, it could be a huge opportunity to include young ADR practitioners and experienced ADR practitioners in general.

Our aspiration is that ODR is fully embraced in Nigeria because of its cost effectiveness and convenience compared to litigation or traditional ADR especially where ordinary circumstances may require one or both of the parties to incur travel and accommodation expenses in order to proceed with mediation or arbitration. By completely excluding the court and other quasi-judicial issues in the process of ODR, the process avoids complex jurisdiction issues.

However, it is of utmost importance that in developing the legal framework and modalities for effective implementation ODR mechanism the inevitable challenges such as confidentiality issues must be placed under high scrutiny and control. At the moment, a hybrid version of ODR is practiced in Nigeria where parties often initiate dispute resolution process via physical meetings and continue by electronic communications such as emails and video conferencing.

At the Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (ACCI-DRC), we adopt as much flexibility within the legal limits to assist parties resolve disputes using the best suitable means.

By: Chidimma Onyiaorah

Registrar, Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (ACCI-DRC)

drcacci@gmail.com

ICMC Enugu Branch to hold Maiden Annual Lecture

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The Enugu branch of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) is pleased to announce her maiden annual lecture themed, “The place of Mediation (ADR) in the resolution of Electoral Disputes: 2019 General Elections in Perspective”.

The Chairman of the branch, Hon. Uche Cyril Anioke, FICMC, stated that the theme was chosen to address the electoral disputes that have arisen in the wake of the Nigerian 2019 general elections. He went further to state that as an Institute, we believe that Mediation can be used for the amicable settlement of post-election disputes, and the Enugu branch intends to sensitize the public on this matter through this lecture.

Mediation as a tool for resolving pre and post election disputes only

The programme will be graced with the presence of the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as the Special Guest of Honour. The Chairman of the Occasion is Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze, Honourable Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Also, in attendance is His Excellency, Igwe Amb. Lawrence Agbuzu, the Chairman of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, who will honour the branch as the Royal father of the Day. The Key Note Speech will be delivered by an erudite scholar and professor of Law of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University; Prof. Offornze Amucheazi, SAN, FICMC, FCIArb (UK).

Hon. Uche Anioke, who also serves as the Chair of the ICMC 20th Anniversary Planning Committee, stated that this lecture is just a prelude to the Institute’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations scheduled to hold on the 3rd of December, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

In attendance will be prominent traditional rulers, Chairpersons of political parties, town union executives and other political actors, who will interrogate the issues surrounding the post-election crises plaguing our nation. According to Dr. Eric Oluedo, FICMC, Chairman of the Planning Committee, the expected outcome of the 2019 ICMC Enugu branch Maiden Annual Lecture is the establishment of the Enugu State PEACE BUILDERS.

Dr. Oluedo stated that this body, if approved, will identify the common causes of conflicts and disputes in the electoral space; advocate for peaceful primary and general elections; offer advice on how best to prevent electoral disputes and; in the event of disputes arising, attempting the resolution of same using Mediation.

Chief Emeka J.P. Obegolu, FICMC, FCIArb (UK), President of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, as well as the Chief Host of the event, urges other branches of the Institute to follow in the footsteps of the Enugu branch in sensitizing the public on the benefits of using Mediation for the resolution of pre and post-election disputes.

Training on ADR Registry/Secretarial Services

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Become a Certified and Accredited ADR Registrar/Secretary!

The Dispute Resolution Centre of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce (DRC-ACCI), in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), is pleased to announce the ADR Registrar/Secretary Course. 

It is scheduled to hold as follows:

Date: April 25-26, 2019

Venue: DRC Secretariat, Abuja Trade and Convention Centre, Km 8 Airport road, Abuja 

Time: 9am-4pm

This course will give you a background knowledge of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and equip you with the necessary skills to serve as an ADR Registrar/Secretary in Arbitration, Mediation and other ADR proceedings. 

It includes:

• Theories 

• Interactive sessions 

• Role plays

• Accreditation Course work

Course fee: N40,000 (Forty thousand Naira) only

Payment should please be made in favour of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre; Eco bank; 2203066086.

Participants will have the unique opportunity to attend the Mediation Moot proceedings which is scheduled to hold April 26, 2019 by 3pm

Click to view the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification 2019 Calendar of Training

For enquiries and/or confirmation of your registration, kindly contact Chidimma (08038362043) or Amina (08131882274).

You are warmly invited to this course. 

Signed,

Aisha Ado Abdullahi

Director, DRC-ACCI

Why Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

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INTRODUCING ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

I encountered Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) formally for the first time as a Law undergraduate in Afe Babalola University (ABUAD). It was, and is still, offered as an elective course in 200 Level. The concept of alternative avenues to peace and justice resonated with me, and I took particular interest in Mediation. It fascinated me when I realized disputants can sit with a neutral third party and iron out their differences in almost every area of life without the hassle of the paperwork and stress involved in courts. Whenever I thought about the future, I envisioned myself working in non-adversarial conflict avoidance/resolution, and not clad in a Barrister’s wig and gown.

This hunger and passion to learn more about Mediation and ADR drove me to conduct research and write my Long Essay/Final Project on “Mediation as an Effective Tool for Dispute Resolution in Nigeria: An Appraisal”.

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or as some call it “Appropriate Dispute Resolution” is an umbrella term used to describe various dispute resolution mechanisms which may be used as alternatives to Litigation (resolution of disputes in Courts of Law), or as supplementary to Litigation.

ADR MECHANISMS

There are numerous Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, some of which require third party intervention or not, and may be binding or non-binding on the disputants. Some of these ADR mechanisms are Mediation, Arbitration, Negotiation, Conciliation, Med-Arb, Arb-Med, Early Neutral Evaluation, and so on.

  • Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary (unless ordered by a Court of Law) and confidential dispute resolution mechanism in which a neutral third party (the Mediator) assists parties in arriving at a negotiated settlement.

  • Arbitration

Out of all the ADR Mechanisms, Arbitration is probably the most similar to Litigation. It is a dispute resolution mechanism in which a neutral third party or a panel of neutral third parties listens to disputants’ submissions and acts akin to a Judge by pronouncing a binding decision called an “Award”, which may be challenged and set aside on certain grounds.

  • Negotiation

Negotiation is simply communication between or among parties with the primary purpose of reaching an agreement or middle ground which is likely beneficial to all parties involved.

  • Conciliation

Conciliation is often used interchangeably with Mediation. However, in Conciliation, the Conciliator may go a step further as to propose a settlement to the parties. This can only serve as a suggestion as parties are not bound to accept the settlement.

  • Med-Arb

This mechanism is a combination of both Mediation and Arbitration. First of all, the parties submit to Mediation and if they are unable to reach a settlement, they move on to Arbitration. It is also possible that they reach agreement on some of the issues and then use Arbitration on contending issues

  • Arb-Med

This mechanism also combines Arbitration and Mediation. In Arb-Med, the parties submit to Arbitration, but when the decision is given, the content of the Award is kept secret from the parties; maybe sealed in an envelope, then parties are encouraged to try Mediation. If a settlement is reached in Mediation, the Award will be set aside. But if the parties are unable to reach a settlement in Mediation, the content of the Award will be administered on the parties.

THE BEAUTY OF MEDIATION

As a participant in the Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Nigeria, I was taught the corner-stones of Mediation; Confidentiality, Ownership by the parties, Neutrality and Impartiality, Respect and Empathy.

There is nothing more important than the fact that Mediation is a confidential process and conducted entirely without prejudice. This confidentiality is two-fold: the entire process is private and all discussions, including the settlement, remain private unless the parties decide otherwise. The “caucus”, which is the private meeting between the Mediator (s) and each of the parties, requires another level of confidentiality as no information discussed with the Mediator (s) in caucus can be shared with the other party without express permission.

The efficacy of Mediation is its provision of a safe space for disputants to vent emotions and air grievances. They are allowed to get emotional (within reason) with the view to unearthing the root cause of the problem. Flaring up in a Court of Law would most likely result in a firm reprimand or depending on the magnitude, being held in contempt of court. The Mediator’s role is to respect the parties’ views and feelings, while steering the discussion in a productive direction by encouraging parties to hear each other out.

Sometime in 2018, I was working on a project with one of my bosses to produce a Mediation Training video. We were trying to set up the conference room to be used for the joint session, and he suggested placing three (3) chairs equidistant from each other, i.e. for the Mediator and two (2) disputants. I disagreed and recommended that the Mediator sit at the head of the table with parties on either side, because the Mediator is “in charge” and should dictate what happens. I immediately realized how wrong I was.  The mediator is indeed a ‘process manager’, but the entirety of the Mediation process belongs to the parties; from participation to settlement. Mediation is party-driven in the sense that the Mediator must always consider the needs and interest of the parties and ensure that s/he does not impose any decision on the parties. The Mediator’s sole purpose is to serve as a facilitator to encourage dialogue and keep the parties at the table.

While engaging in one of the many role play activities of ICMC’s Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training, I read through the assigned scenario and before I even got to the end, the lawyer in me had already taken sides and concluded that party A was in the wrong and owed party B a full refund and well-deserved apology. I failed to remember that Mediation is interest-based, and not rights-based like Litigation. This only goes to show that honing your Mediation skills makes you a better person because, it gives you the unique opportunity to adequately practice how not to judge people around us and situations we find ourselves in.

Serving ICMC Nigeria as her Training & Communications Officer affords me the unique privilege of sitting in on trainings organized by the Institute, which serve as continuing professional education for me. They have challenged me to study different personality types with the view to understanding why people behave the way they do; myself included. This makes you a better parent, sibling, administrator and colleague as it teaches you how to manage the strengths and weaknesses of those around you.

Say I have a subordinate who has a short attention span and difficulty with understanding complex issues, constantly berating him will only serve to make him worse at his job and develop a strong dislike for me and, perhaps the entire organization. The best way to manage this would be for me to empathize with his weaknesses; not by feeling sorry for him and taking on all his workload, but by being more patient in instructing him and explaining tasks in simple terms. In so doing, I assist him in developing his competence; and in the same vein, ensure the smooth running of my organization.

Educating a new generation of practitioners

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND LITIGATION

I am a Legal Practitioner and I will continue to advocate for the use of non-adversarial means of resolving disputes. Nevertheless, I must say that Litigation is not redundant, and will never be. There are some matters that cannot be resolved using ADR and must go to Court; for instance, criminal matters, human rights and matters requiring constitutional interpretation. There are also some matters that should go to Court in order to establish precedent for others to follow.

As Engr. ’Segun Ogunyannwo, the Registrar of ICMC Nigeria, has pointed out the signs and inscriptions above the Courts of Law read “Court of Justice” and not “Court of Litigation”, which implies that there are other avenues to justice that should be utilized. The Chief Judge of Plateau State, Hon. Justice Yakubu Dakwak, speaking at the ICMC Special Induction for Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in 2018, advocated for the use of ADR as a road map to reducing case load in courts. He expressed hope that ICMC inductees will join hands with the Judiciary and the Institute to ensure Mediation takes paramount importance in the state. While chairing the occasion, the Attorney General of Plateau State, Hon. Jonathan A. Mawiyau, reiterated that ADR is the easiest way, and Mediation and Conciliation is the way forward because more often than not parties leave satisfied with the outcome.

In June 2018, The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen commissioned the Court of Appeal Mediation Centre, as part of efforts to enhance justice delivery in the country. In her remarks, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, stated that parties before the court can now choose between Litigation and Mediation. This signifies an opportunity by parties as well as their counsel to enjoy the full flavour of Order 16 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016.

WHY ADR?

We do it every day. Parents arbitrate by listening to issues between their children and making a decision. A mutual friend mediates by encouraging friends to see past their differences; and even acts as a Conciliator by proposing a beneficial solution. We negotiate in our offices, the markets, and even at home when children advocate for a longer bedtime or increased allowance.

So, the question is “Why not ADR?”. Why not incorporate it into your dispute resolution clauses in your contracts? Why not advocate for its continued use? Why not undergo trainings and obtain certification in dispute resolution which will only add quality to your practice?

Alternative Dispute Resolution; particularly Mediation, is a field that thrives on possibilities. Conflict resolution and ensuring a peaceful world is not the responsibility of lawyers alone; we all have a duty to advocate harmonious co-existence. It is for this reason that ICMC trainings and subsequent membership is open to all professionals from all disciplines and walks of life.

A budding career in Mediation and ADR has enriched my life immensely, and I will continue to create awareness and advocate its use in Nigeria.

By Chimdimma Onyedebelu

Training & Communications Officer, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC)