This profile was prepared when Peter Aina was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Peter believes that the congestion in Nigerian courts can be resolved, and swift and effective justice delivered, only if litigation is not the sole legal dispute resolution apparatus in the country. He recognizes, however, that independent alternatives alone will have limited effectiveness. Instead, he envisions a justice system itself comprising all the alternatives for dispute resolution. To this end, he has set up the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC), a court-connected alternative dispute resolution center whose primary mission is to supplement litigation with three other processesor "doors"in the resolution of disputes: arbitration, mediation, and neutral evaluation. The "courthouse" is not intended to supplant litigation but rather to expand resources for faster, cost-effective, and user-friendly access to justice. Unlike other alternative dispute resolution centers in Nigeria and elsewhere, the LMDC is officially connected to the Lagos State High Court, helping to create a seamless web of justice-delivery mechanisms.