There are two distinct forms of Dispute Resolution. They are;
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
For the purpose of this course, our focus shall be on litigation.
WHAT IS LITIGATION?
Litigation refers to an action brought before a court led by a person (plaintiff, claimant or complainant against another person (Defendant) based on legal principles by which the former asserts some rights or legal entitlement from the latter. These rights may be to recover some loan advanced, damages suffered, a declaration to pronounce on a state, to cause a thing to be done (as in the case of interim, interlocutory or perpetual injunction to re strain a defendant from acting in a particular way.
Litigation comprises of the entire process of adjudicating a matter before a court of competent jurisdiction it entails the commencement of action via originating processes, filing and exchange of pleadings (and other processes), leading of evidence and tendering of documents in evidence by the parties to an action, filing, exchange and adoption of final written address right up to final stage of judgment delivery. Upon delivery of judgment, the court becomes functus officio.
Litigation is the most common form of Dispute in Nigeria. Its origin is entrenched in the English Common Law. Litigation is adversarial in nature; it means that each party holds the responsibility to establish his case before the unbiased umpire who is usually the judge. The role of the judge in the proceedings is largely passive as he is enjoined by law to apply the law to the facts presented before him by the parties.
TYPES OF LITIGATION
Generally, there are two types of Litigation and they are;
- Civil Litigation or procedure
- Criminal Litigation
For the purpose of this course we shall focus on civil litigation/procedure
Civil Litigation/procedure includes the mode of commencing an action, service of process of court and the step by step proceeding that follows until judgment is delivered. It also includes the procedure adopted to enforce the judgment of court and the appellate review of the judgment.
SOURCES OF CIVIL LITIGATION/ PROCEDURE
- The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)
- Statutes creating courts, for example Supreme Court Act, Court of Appeal Act, High Court Law etc.
- The Sheriff and Civil Process Act.
- Rules of Court for example, Supreme Court Rules (as amended in 2008), Court of Appeal Rules 2016, Federal High Court Rules 2019, High Court Civil Procedure Rules of the Various States.
- Practice Direction
- Evidence Act 2011
- Case Laws
- Other statutes, for example Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, Matrimonial Causes Act
 Stanley-Idum, M& Agaba J. Civil Litigation p.25