Olumide-Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said ADR remained a better alternative as courts had not been set up to understand that business litigations should not be delayed.
He said, “It should not be for real estate practitioners alone, it should be commercial disputes, where people don’t want delays and where people want disputes resolved as soon as possible.
“If you don’t want to spend time and money, it is better to sit down and resolve the issue since the normal court process has proved inadequate in resolving commercial litigations due to the time it takes.”
According to him, it is always better for people who are pursuing genuine cases to sit down and find solutions to their conflicts, considering the concerns and how to resolve them without resorting to litigation.
Speaking with members of the International Real Estate Federation, FIABCI Nigeria, on ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution: Panacea for growth in real estate sector’, Olumide-Fusika said conflicts were unavoidable but could be resolved within limited time.
He stated that beyond negotiation, which is the first stage in ADR, the parties involved could bring in a third party free from the emotions attached to the conflict for mediation.
“The third party will try to make you see reasons with each other but if mediation doesn’t work, then the last stage in ADR, which is arbitration and involves a lawyer should be explored. It is adversarial but it saves more time and yields a faster outcome than the traditional court case,” he said.
According to Olumide-Fusika, it is not true that people are taking away the job of lawyers through ADR as they are still involved in the process.
He, however, stated that the current cost of ADR remained one of its biggest disadvantages as people still considered it too high.
He said, “People say the number of years that litigation takes costs so much but anyone who has been through arbitration knows that it costs so much. I think the charges are too much and some people are milking the process, which makes it unattractive.
“So it should be made cheap for the people, so that they are made to see the advantages of it. The price has to be reviewed; right now people don’t see the advantage because it is too expensive. But you need to look at all the cost elements and choose the one that will serve your best interest.”
The President, FIABCI Nigeria, Mr Adeniji Adele, said the association had found that there were so many litigations over the years, involving clients, and had been looking at ways to get out of the situation.
He said, “This gathering is part of knowledge sharing section for members, where some topical issues that relate to the profession are discussed to improve business competence of members. We are in the built industry; we don’t take it for a ride. For example, we have find out that there are so many litigations over the years involving some clients and we have been looking at ways to get out of the situation.
“We realised that there are so many ways to get out of it and one of the methods is perhaps the process of arbitration, mediation because litigation has not really solved the problem.
When you look at the law of the country, you see that litigation should be a no go area, as the process of the judiciary system is so cumbersome and apart from the cost element of it, it’s time wasting and parties may not get the justice so desired. So the best way is to have a peaceful resolution between the parties.”