Mr Valentino Buoro, the Associate Convener of Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates (SCMA) Nigeria Chapter, on Tuesday said not less than 150 lawyers enrolled and acquired training in mediation advocacy skills in Lagos in the past one year.
Buoro, a mediation advocacy expert and a lawyer, made this known in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos.
He said that such tremendous increase was achieved due to various rules of court in Lagos State which encouraged lawyers who were reluctant to embrace mediation to get trained as mediation advocates.
Buoro said that most courts in Lagos now referred cases to mediation first to reduce the dockets of cases in courts.
“Some rules of court made it mandatory for every litigating lawyer who intend to file a case in court to first attempt an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.
“It is now very clear to lawyers to acquire training so as to be knowledgeable in ADR process.
“Mediation is faster and best enforced when lawyers who are counsel in cases are well acquainted in the skills of mediation advocacy.
“SCMA has in the past one year witnessed tremendous increase in the number of lawyers acquiring skills in mediation advocacy.
“In the last one year, for mediation advocacy alone, we have between 100 and 150 practitioners who have shown interest. It is better than what it used to be before,” Buoro said.
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects.
Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement.
According to Buoro, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) through its Institute of Continuing Legal Education is now partnering with SCMA to get majority of its members acquire skills as mediation advocates.
He said those who acquired the skills would be issued certificates from the corporate headquarters of the organisation in London.
He, however said that NBA had given a tremendous boost to the training of lawyers by ensuring that its members across the country got trained.
According to the mediation expert, for the past five years, the training was done only in Lagos but the training is now done in different parts of the country.
He said that his organisation and other mediation outfits were doing everything possible to ensure that lawyers encourage their clients to seek resolution of their cases through ADR process first.
Buoro said: “Though there is an increase in lawyers who are acquiring knowledge in ADR process, the knowledge gap within the legal community is still stalling the process.
“ADR is the best process in resolving commercial transactions disputes.’’