Morenike Obi-Farinde is a Lawyer, Arbitrator and Mediator in Nigeria
Disputes generally are an integral part of human interactions. The Courts have always been the primary place to resolve commercial disputes in Nigeria before the various legislations, which provide for Alternatives to litigation like Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation etc commonly referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR was an attempt to deal more effectively and efficiently with growing caseloads in the Courts system and to improve citizens’ access to justice.
As an ADR practitioner, I view ejustice as adaptation of technology to make ADR more efficient and improve access to justice especially in areas where due to the value of the claim vis a vis the cost of redress, no form of resolution is possible. The world has become a global village via our interactions on the Internet. Our online activities raise questions like: How do we resolve these online disputes?; How can advancement in technology be used to achieve prompt and cost effective resolution of disputes that are generated online and offline?; How can we apply technology to advance the administration of justice and improve access to Justice?
Nigeria has a population of approximately 198million people and a fast growing technological space, which is experiencing a growth in the use of available technologies particularly in the areas of e-commerce.
The judiciary and relevant sectors are also making efforts to ensure that the legal space is brought to par with the advancement in technology. The Evidence Act 2011 for instance addressed the lacunae in the procedure of admitting evidence produced by computers in Nigeria.
Lagos State, the Commercial Centre of Nigeria has an estimated population of about 20million. The Lagos State judiciary appreciating the enormous caseload generated by the large population has sought to adapt technology to improve access to justice by the introduction of electronic filing and mandatory upload of court processes,; the recent launch of the e-probate systems 2019 (online application for Grant of probate and Letters of Administration at probate.lagosjudiciary.gov.ng); as well as the inclusion of service by email n the 2019 High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules provision.
The use of technology including the internet in the resolution of disputes is often times referred to as Online Dispute Resolution. ODR can be used for the resolution of disputes generated online and offline.
Online shopping is becoming quite popular in Nigeria, due to the relative convenience. In a city like Lagos with such huge population , online shopping saves both travel time and costs. Online shopping and e-retail is further driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s “cashless policy”, which seeks to reduce the use of physical cash and increase the adoption of various electronic portals for financial transactions.
Source : http://venturesafrica.com
In a recent research conducted by Philips Consulting Limited, on the average, the leading online stores in Nigeria achieve about $2 million worth of transactions per week (N1.3 billion per month.) Despite the economic challenges in the country, such as low income per capita and frequent power outages, internet penetration within the country has shown remarkable growth in the last decade due to pricing and rising number of internet enabled devices along with the desire to connect with loved ones.
Despite this large presence online, there are inadequate dispute resolution platforms in Nigeria to deal with the conflicts that may ensue. For instance, a popular hotel booking site in Nigeria has a dispute resolution clause which reads thus:
« To the extent permitted by law, the provision of our services and these terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with French law and any dispute shall exclusively be submitted to and arbitrated by the competent courts of France ».3
The EJust Online Platform is an example of existing software which can be deployed to resolve commercial disputes. This platform which is soon to be available in Nigeria (facilitated by Techlaw Agency) will ensure: confidentiality; speed; security; clear pricing and predictability of costs amongst other advantages.
Morenike Obi-Farinde is a Lawyer, Arbitrator and Mediator in Nigeria. Her passion to adapt technology to improve access to justice led to the creation of Techlaw Agency.
1. This Is Africa’s New Biggest City: Lagos, Nigeria, Population 21 Million’ – Un article de l’Atlantic Daily. Accessible ici : http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/this-is-africas-new-biggest-city-lagos-nigeria-population-21-million/259611/ (Retour au texte 1)
2. Online Shopping Survey Report July 2014 – A Study of Current Trends in Online Shopping in Nigeria’ Une étude menée par Philips Consulting. www.philipsconsulting.net (Retour au texte 2)
3. https://travel.jumia.com/en-gb/terms-and-conditions Site visité le 22-03-2019 (Retour au texte 3)