General News of Monday, 13 March 2017
Appeal Court Judge, Charity Irene Larbi has said that some Lawyers are encouraging clients to pursue litigation as opposed to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure which is comparatively cheaper, faster and reduces the financial burden of disputants.
Speaking at a press briefing to launch the ADR week, Justice Larbi said that to secure their personal monetary gains, some court officials deter their clients from seeking the easier alternative when they are faced with land dispute issues and have to choose between litigation and ADR. She said they rather aggravate the level of tension between both parties just so they can make some monies for their “daily fuel”.
“When the case is such a case that when you look at it, the issues are minor and yet as an officer of the court, you are rather the one fanning this litigation, fanning the heads of wives and husbands, children and parents, family members against family members, businessmen against businessmen.”
She condemned such acts and described it as “ethically incorrect”. According to her, it is required professionally that the Lawyer makes the interest of their client their foremost priority, protecting them from the pain of having to go through an inconvenient litigation process which could take months or years rather than the ADR procedure which would take less than a month to complete.
“You should know that every case belongs to the parties, yours is to be professional and therefore when they show the desire to go and settle…, perhaps looking at the file, the case had come up more than 20 times in court, and is not the turn of your client to be heard, are you assisting your client or you are against your client because excuse me to say, every day that the case comes on, you get something for your fuel, ethically, it is not right”, she stated.
Justice Larbi urged persons involved in such dispute cases to file a petition to the Chief Justice where their Lawyers despite the parties’ interest in resolving the issue through the ADR process are deterring them from doing so. This she says will ensure the right thing is done.
“Take it from me, if your lawyer tells you, don’t go, if you like, write a petition, send it to the Chief Justice and we will know how to invite that lawyer to come and explain why the client is opting to end litigation and you say “don’t go”, she indicated.