INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Senger Challenges Nigerian Legal Profession to Provide Greater Access to Adr

Published: Fri 4 May 2001 02:28 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000989
SIPDIS
State for IIP/F/AF Danz/Esquetini; AF/PD
Skop; and AF/W Martschenko
Lagos for PAS Lauterbach and Lisenby
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO SCUL OEXC KJUS NI
SUBJECT: Senger Challenges Nigerian Legal Profession to Provide Greater Access to ADR
Ref: Lagos 00778
1. Summary: Department of Justice Deputy
Senior Counsel for Dispute Resolution
Jeffrey Senger challenged leaders in
Nigeria's courts and executive branch to
address the practicalities of a court-based
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system
that could lower costs, bring greater access
to dispute resolution to average Nigerians
and alleviate clogged court dockets. Senger
was lead speaker on the theme tandards for
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria:
What Now?" in Abuja on April 5. Other
speakers included the Registrar of the
Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of Kaduna
State, the President Special Advisor on
Legal and Constitutional Matters, the Vice
President of the Nigerian Bar Association
and a retired U.S. California state judge
associated with the USAID Rule of Law
Program in Abuja. The audience of 60
included a broad spectrum of judicial and
other GON officials. Rather than just
introduce the topic of ADR or train a small
group based in Lagos, this program assembled
key individuals and groups critical to
fostering the institutionalization of ADR
within the Nigerian judicial process. This
is a GPRA report. End Summary.
2. Activity Description: A one-day seminar
on Alternative Dispute Resolution held in
the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Senger, who
served as the lead speaker at this
conference, was joined by a number of
distinguished Nigerian and American
presenters including Dr. Maxwell Gidado,
Senior Special Assistant to President
Obasanjo on Legal and Constitutional
Matters; Justice Rahila Cudjoe of the Kaduna
State Judiciary; Judge Henry Ramsey, Jr.
from the U.S. National Center of State
Courts; and Prince Adetokumbo Kayode, First
Vice President of the Nigerian Bar
Association.
3. Justification and Objective: Over the
last seven years, Post has sponsored ADR
projects in support of judicial reform
efforts in Nigeria. Through this program,
PAS Abuja hoped to further strengthen
Nigeria's nascent democracy by encouraging
government institutions to devise a process
for setting ADR standards within the
judicial process.
4. MPP Umbrella Themes and Audiences
Reached: NI-PD-01 (Strengthening Democracy).
The program reached an array of judicial and
other GON officials, members of the Nigerian
Bar Association, and journalists. Also,
Nigeria's largest TV network, the Nigerian
Television Authority (NTA), gave the program
unprecedented prominence as the lead story
on its Network News the day of the seminar.
NTA Network News boasts over 30 million
viewers and serves as a primary source of
information for government officials and the
country's elite.
5. Immediate Result/Impact: Excellent.
Previous PAS ADR programs in Nigeria were
aimed at either providing training or
increasing understanding of ADR mechanisms.
Senger's program successfully changed that
focus by addressing the necessary
qualifications for mediators. This opened a
debate among the participants on whether
mediation should be restricted to lawyers.
Justice Cudjoe, who traveled 200 kilometers
to participate in the program, also
recommended that Nigerian judges encourage
litigants to explore the use of mediation to
settle disputes out of court. Such action
would provide institutionalization of ADR in
association with the court system.
6. Date: April 5, 2001
Fiscal Year: FY 001
Quarter: Third
7. Non-USG Funding Sources or In-Kind
Support: N/A
8. Quality of U.S. Support: Excellent. Post
appreciates the support of IIP/F/AF in
identifying Senger for this highly
successful ADR project. He earned the
respect of the participants by combining his
U.S. mediator experience with concrete
examples of African courts using ADR to
decongest dockets. In light of the
program's success, Post would welcome a
return appearance by Senger to address the
question of mediation.
Jeter
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