#Legal Sense

Alternative dispute resolution clause

Funmilayo Olagunju Esq

Parties to an agreement hardly envisage a future conflict. In reality, unexpected differences might later surface which would require settlement. A good agreement should look beyond the present and make adequate preparation for future and unforseen circumstances including conflict.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is also described as Amicable Dispute Resolution and it means the method of conflict resolution that excludes trial (litigation). The common ADR process are Arbitration, Mediation and Neutral Evaluation among etc.

Parties who intend to engage ADR in resolving future conflict rather than going first to Court for trial must ensure that the agreement contains a standard ADR clause. The clause must be precise about the exact mechanism of ADR to be engaged such as Arbitration or Mediation.

Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more neutral third party (called an arbitrator) to make a binding decision on the dispute.

Mediation involves the intervention of a third person into a dispute to assist the parties in negotiating jointly acceptable resolution of issues in conflict. This third party is a Mediator.

The Arbitrator and Mediation Act 2023 gives legal framework for the practice of Arbitration and Mediation in Nigeria. Professional are certified ADR practitioners are best engaged to have an efficient output.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is flexible and time-efficient. It is likely to preserve the mutual bond between parties as opposed to trial where each party would strive to win.

When an agreement contains a well-drafted ADR clause, the parties must explore the stipulated mechanism before going to court. A good number of conflicts are resolved through professional ADR practitioners and the cordiality of the parties preserved.

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“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel”

Proverbs 15:18 (NIV).

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