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Seek redress through ADR, NAFBM urges businesses

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Due to congestion in the Nigerian court system, rising costs of litigation and delays, which continue to plague litigants, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has become more imperative.

The threat that unresolved conflicts pose to businesses and economic growth is inextricable to the importance of ADR awareness in Nigeria, because conflict unresolved has been identified as one of the most significant threats to sustainable development.

As a result, the Nigeria Association for Franchise Business Members (NAFBM), whose roles include: cooperating with government regulatory agencies to encourage conducive policies and interventions, and also to educate and cultivate ethical conduct in all transactions between franchise business actors, is urging businesses in Nigeria to unclog the judicial system by seeking alternative methods of settling issues outside of the law court.

The term Alternative Dispute Resolution is used generally to describe the different methods and procedures used in resolving dispute, either as alternatives to the traditional dispute resolution mechanism of the court system or in some cases supplementary to such mechanisms.

The association has planned to further raise awareness of ADR opportunities through an event scheduled to hold in Lagos on Friday May 17, in collaboration with Africa Franchise Institute (AFI), Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LAICIAC), Franchise Business Development Services (FBDS), Jackson Etti & Edu Law Firm, and GIZ NICOP.

Franchise Business Members said; the event will focus on educating and exposing SMEs, professionals and other participants to the different methods available to them for sorting conflict in a timely manner.

“It will address the current state of conflict resolution in Nigeria and how businesses can get timely results regarding matters and issues that they have not been able to present or have presented but are unable to progress due to the tedious processes involved in resolving such issues through the court.

The other focus areas of the ADR event are: education and awareness of participants as to how complaints can be processed and resolved more quickly and resolved earlier; saving time and costs of attorneys and other parties involved in cases granted in court; role of early neutral evaluation and the role of fact-finding experts in conflicts; how creative solutions acceptable to all parties involved in the conflict can be attained; how to set-up a functional ADR system in business contracts etc”.

According to the organizers, the event will feature three key sessions: a conference Session, where a white paper will be presented to educate on use of ADR for a fair and quick dispute resolution, and intellectual property issues in commercial transactions; a panel discussion by leading stakeholders who will have an interactive session with all participants; and a break-out workshop session where entrepreneurs will be trained and issued certificates on key topics.

The training topics will cover – business scaling and expansion through franchising; access to low-interest funding for business growth; and practical business dispute challenges and resolution approaches.

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