• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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Expert calls for establishment of maritime panel of neutrals, mediation advocates


There is an urgent need to establish a maritime panel of neutrals and a roll of maritime mediation advocates to facilitate the utilisation of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution strategy (ADR), said Valentino Buoro, a maritime legal expert.

Buoro, who stated this while presenting a paper titled ‘Mediation Advocacy and the International Mediation Institute’ at one-day seminar for journalists held in Lagos, said the several challenges and disputes between various operators in the port industry would be best resolved using a structured ADR process.

He defined mediation as a process in which parties to a dispute with the assistance of a third party (the mediator) identify disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach agreement. Here, the mediator has no advisory or determinative role in regard to the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution, but may advise on or determine the process of mediation whereby resolution is attempted.

According to him, the establishment of maritime panel of neutrals and mediation advocates would ensure that industry disputes are managed by industry professionals who truly understand the processes of the industry.

Buoro, who further acknowledged the efforts of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) geared at institutionalising alternative dispute resolution in the maritime industry, stated that it saves cost to use ADR in dispute resolution rather than litigation.

This, he said, was because ADR saves cost in areas such as process risk management; savings in personal and corporate stress and distractions; savings in duration of process and concomitant cost; avoidance of uncertain outcomes and likelihood of appeal; and retention of business and social relationships amongst many other areas of costs saving.