ADR concept;The Multi-door courthouse (MDCH) Monday, Feb 20 2012 


The emergence of the multi-door courthouse was as a result of the expansion and acceptance of alternative means of the resolution of disputes.In the last couple of years, a trend has been known under the category `alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR). With this trend, the big question arose, was this ADR a movement to formalise alternative modes of dispute resolution and was this a move away from court trials and specialist legal personnel or was it simply part of a project to recreate litigation?[1].

An example is Multi-Doors of perception where there is transformative Mediation and Settlements.Mediators intervene to take the legal dispute and help translate it back to human problem because there are more possible solutions to human problems than legal disputes[2]

Following this, in England the `family conciliation’ has been noted for its facilitatory services with joint decision-making, while divorce county courts have tended towards conciliation. Some forms of ADR state and highlight its offer of increased party control and an escape from legal institutions, while others like the Multi-door Courthouse experiments which was introduced in The United States of America by Professor Frank Sander in 1976 , have the obvious aim of integrating alternative dispute resolution into the public justice system[3].

The Multi-door Courthouse concept stems from the notion of a court-house with multiple outlet rooms for the resolution of dispute resolution. The goal of the Multi-door Courthouse is for the provision of access to justice, reduce delay and provide links to related services. Following the success of the Multi-door Courthouse in The United States of America, some countries have adopted the concept; such countries include Nigeria with the Lagos/ Abuja Multi-door Courthouse and Singapore Multi-door Courthouse.

Interestingly, there is a theory that The Multi door Courthouse ought to be connected with the courts and, on the assumption that having the courts in close proximity to the Multi door court-house will facilitate easy access to legal books and legal information and on the other hand have the arbitration, mediation and other forms of ADR accessibility obtainable. Ideally, and  as a matter of principle they should be separate. The real issue here is having the citizens know where to go in times of dispute regardless of the legal matter; for this is the very essence of ADR being an alternative to litigation[4].

In view of the above, the multi-door courthouse has shown and represents the various settlement procedures available to disputants to assist them in the resolution of their matters. In reality it inspires participants of court improvements to bear in mind the advantages of ADR[5].

Some would argue that the Multi- door courthouse is impractical and expensive,which in some ways seems valid but the irony is that it has had and still having a useful life[6]. The emergence of the Multi-door courthouse was as a result of the traditional one door court-house used originally by disputants in the form of litigation; which after a while was noted as not being the best form of resolving disputes and for which the concept of multi-door courthouse also known as the revolving door arose because of the various ADR procedures[7].


[1] Simon Roberts , Modern Law Review: Mediation in the Lawyers’ Embrace’  Vol 55,No 2 Blackwell Publishing 1992 258

[2] Robert Creo `Mediation 2004: The Art and The Artist’ http:// www.rcreo.com  accessed 14 February 2012

[3] Ibid 259

[4] Mariana D  Hernandez-Crespo ` A dialogue between Professors Frank Sander and Mariana Hernandez Crespo Exploring the Evolution of the Multi- Door Courthouse’ (2008) University of St Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) < http:// ssrn.com /abstract =1265221 >  accessed 15 February 2012

[5] J.Anderson Little `The Multi-Door Courthouse has finally Arrived: New Settlement Procedures are Now Available in Superior Court ‘ (2009)-procedures-are-now-available-in-superior-court > accessed 15 February 2012

[6] Ibid

[7] Kenneth K Stuart, Cynthia A Savage `The Multi-door Courthouse: How its working’ (2009) <http:// www.courts.state.co.us > accessed 15 February 2012

Digitalised means of dispute resolution Monday, Feb 6 2012 


The Organisation for economic co-operation and development (OECD) in 1999 stated in its published work ”Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce” expressly stated guidelines for an effective means of using e-commerce in a highly digitalized world. In other words, encouraging the use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in the resolution of e-disputes/online disputes.

The provisions were essentially to foster business to business as well as business to consumer business relationships. Also to increase the ability for governments to work together for the provision of accessibility to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in the resolution of disputes in a timely manner.

Quite remarkable in the OECD resolve to the creation of rules and regulations, is its mandate to address issues regarding cross-border business. This is especially regarding the use of digital methods in implementing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems.

Online dispute resolution has been used digitally for the settlement of certain disputes. Notably e-commerce matters, which solely has been because such matters can be resolved in a speedy manner through online means.

Therefore, to a large extent, it would be correct to state  that ODR supplements conventional methods of ADR ‘s in  dispute resolution, such as arbitration, mediation, negotiation, which in turn means there is e-mediation, e-arbitration, e-negotiation. Online mediation/e-mediation is notably the most advanced form of online dispute resolution and the commonly used mechanism in ODR. E-mediation is mostly used in the resolution of disputes online for family disputes, referred to as family e-disputes which includes child custody and  virtually all child e-disputes and couple separation e-disputes.