Pre–Trial Conference As An Effective Tool of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism In Ondo State Judiciary


  • Adeola Adams



 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is one of the fastest growing field of academic interests that have attracted researchers from various disciplines. There are myriad ADR processes that have been discovered and more are still being invented as effective tools of conflict management, prevention and settlement in various spheres. Pre-trial conference is one of such inventions. This paper is an assessment of pre-trial conference as part of the recent efforts to institutionalize Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes in the Ondo State Judiciary since 2012. The paper sought to identify the factors that led to the adoption of pre-trial conference, the types of disputes that are amenable to it, the processes of conducting it, its challenges and its impacts on the justice delivery system in Ondo State. Both primary and secondary data were utilized. The primary data were collected through interviews with Judges/Magistrates, judicial officers, drawn from 4 judicial divisions in Ondo State. The Chairman of NBA in Ondo State was also interviewed. Secondary data were collected from books, journals, seminar and conference papers, and internet sources. The findings indicated that court congestion cases, delays associated with trials and high cost of litigation among other factors were responsible for the introduction of pre-trial conference in the state; it further revealed that issues relating to contract, land, landlord/tenant, banking, chieftaincy, and defamation are often treated with pre-trial conference and more so, the paper shows that pre-trial conference has, to some extent, facilitated effective settlement of disputes without having to go through trials. And of course, litigants find the process more satisfactory in terms of being cost effective and speedy resolution of disputes.