The Chief Judge (CJ) of Enugu State, Justice Ngozi Emehelu, on Tuesday, inaugurated two specialised courts for quick dispensation of justice among litigants in the state.
The two distinct courts which are Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms (ADR) are the Enugu State Multi-Door Court (ESMDC) and the Fast Track Court (FTC).
Emehelu said that the inauguration of the courts followed the passage of the Enugu State Multi-Door Courthouse Law 2018.
She said that the establishment of the courts was a deliberate reform in the justice sector that would help to reduce case congestion in the courts.
The chief judge added that aggrieved persons who opted to engage in the process would enjoy speedy, cost effective and friendly access to justice.
She said “those who engage the courts will also encounter a highly confidential and private process which promotes the maximal participation of the disputants in the resolution process with satisfying outcomes.
“These objectives are to be achieved by the application of ADR interventions in the disputes referred from the High Court, Customary Court of Appeal, Magistrate Court.”
Emehelu said that the courts would also entertain litigations referred from Federal Courts, private persons, corporations, public institutions and dispute resolution organisations.
“Under this arrangement, once a settlement has been reached, it can be endorsed by the ADR judge or magistrate to become a consent judgment of the court,” she said.
The chief judge explained that the new trend in the judicial sector of the state had made it expedient for lawyers to acquire fresh skill sets with a view to demonstrating a mastery of ADR techniques.
“ADR enables lawyers to negotiate settlement for their clients and not only advocate rights and legal positions and the lawyers as accomplished litigators must acquire fresh skill sets,” she said.
She said that ESMDC would provide the necessary platforms for capacity development for lawyers.
“It is worthy of note that the state is the first judiciary in the country to inaugurate a multi-door courthouse and a fast track court at the same time,” Emehelu said.
The Director of ESMDC, Mrs Caroline Etuk, said that the courts would promote the growth and effective functioning of the justice system.
Etuk added that FTC was a specialised court for accelerated disposal of high net worth claims of N20 million and above.
The Chairman of Oji River branch of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Oyibo Chukwu, described the initiative as a step in the right direction.
Chukwu said that the two specialised courts would come as a big relief to judges and magistrates that usually have frightening number of cases on their desks.
The NBA chairman called for the digitisation of the two courts for easy recording of cases.
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