Court-connected Alternative Dispute Resolution (CCADR) or Multi Door Courthouse
(MDC), adopted by two Nigerian States and the Federal Capital Territory, is the integration
of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) into the court system to facilitate access to justice.
Several studies have examined the operations of the three MDCs in Nigeria, but studies on their
practice and procedure in Nigeria compared with those in the United States of America (USA) and
the United Kingdom (UK) have not been undertaken. This study, therefore, examined the practice
and procedure of existing MDCs in Nigeria, and compared same with those in the USA and UK
to identify the inadequacies in Nigerian laws.
The study adopted the theory of Access to Justice. The provisions on dispute resolution in the
Constitutional Statutes of Nigeria, the USA and the UK were examined. Three High Court
laws, three High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules and three practice directions on the procedure
for MDCs were examined. Fifty-seven cases (17 Nigerian, 11 American and 29 British) and
relevant legal texts on the practice of ADR were purposively selected. These were subjected
to interpretive and comparative analyses.
The MDCs were introduced into the judiciaries of Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States, and Abuja
(as LMDC, AKMDC and AMDC respectively) through the amendment of the existing High
Court Laws and Civil Procedure Rules to encourage referral of cases to ADR. This was the
same approach adopted in the USA and the UK. Specific ADR Rules and Practice Directions
were enacted to support the process; only Lagos had enacted an MDC law which was
consistent with the practice in the USA and the UK. The courts’ supervisory procedure
varied: LMDC operated as private-public collaboration, and the staff was not affiliated to the
State judiciary; the AKMDC and AMDC were integrated with the State judiciary, manned by
judiciary staff and subject to the same supervision as that of the regular judicial staff. This
was also the predominant procedure in small claims courts in the USA and the UK. The
CCADRs in all the countries had trained ADR personnel who conducted the ADR process
but also maintained ad hoc ‘accredited’ neutrals. They all recognised pre-trial referrals, and,
where not expressly stated in the Rules, allowed referrals after trial had commenced. In all
the countries, settlement outcomes were contracts simpliciter which, once endorsed by an
ADR judge, became a judgment of the court. The USA and UK practice differed from
Nigeria’s in terms of mandatory participation by disputants based on amounts claimed and
the annexation to their summary trial courts.
The operations of the Multidoor Court house in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States and the Federal
Capital Territory of Nigeria are similar in terms of annexation and voluntariness, but differ in
respect of their engagements of neutrals. They all diverge from the practice in the USA and
the UK with regard to non-voluntariness of participation. For better access to justice through
MDCs in Nigeria, there must be automatic referrals to ADR.
The Public Access, L (2021). A Comparative Appraisal Of The Practice And Procedure Of Courtconnected Alternative Dispute Resolution In Nigeria United States Of America And United Kingdom. Afribary.com: Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/a-comparative-appraisal-of-the-practice-and-procedure-of-courtconnected-alternative-dispute-resolution-in-nigeria-united-states-of-america-and-united-kingdom-1
Library, The Public Access. "A Comparative Appraisal Of The Practice And Procedure Of Courtconnected Alternative Dispute Resolution In Nigeria United States Of America And United Kingdom" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 05 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/a-comparative-appraisal-of-the-practice-and-procedure-of-courtconnected-alternative-dispute-resolution-in-nigeria-united-states-of-america-and-united-kingdom-1 . Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.
Library, The Public Access. "A Comparative Appraisal Of The Practice And Procedure Of Courtconnected Alternative Dispute Resolution In Nigeria United States Of America And United Kingdom". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 05 Apr. 2021. Web. 17 Apr. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/a-comparative-appraisal-of-the-practice-and-procedure-of-courtconnected-alternative-dispute-resolution-in-nigeria-united-states-of-america-and-united-kingdom-1 >.
Library, The Public Access. "A Comparative Appraisal Of The Practice And Procedure Of Courtconnected Alternative Dispute Resolution In Nigeria United States Of America And United Kingdom" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed April 17, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/a-comparative-appraisal-of-the-practice-and-procedure-of-courtconnected-alternative-dispute-resolution-in-nigeria-united-states-of-america-and-united-kingdom-1