Justice Irene Charity Larbi
Justice Irene Charity Larbi
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The 2018 ADR Week Celebration of the Ghana Judicial Service has been launched, amidst demonstrative progress in the adoption of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms by Ghanaians.

The launching, which was held at the District Court ‘B’ in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, opens the week of activities in the various courts to promote awareness creation on ADR, as well as use ADR mechanisms to clear the backlog of cases in the courts.

Attended by an array of judges, magistrates and lawyers, as well as litigating parties, this year’s ADR Week is being observed on the theme, “Quality Justice: the role of ADR.”

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Launching the Week, Justice Irene Charity Larbi, an Appeal Court Judge and judge-in-charge of Court-Connected ADR Programme for the Judicial Service, described the progress of ADR in the judicial system as encouraging.

ADR is helping to reduce cases at the courts
ADR is helping to reduce cases at the courts

She announced that a total of 3,486 cases were mediated in 2017 out of which 1,571 cases were settled, representing a 45 percent settlement rate.

This is an increase of 2,114 over the 1,372 cases mediated in 2016 in which 605 cases were settled successfully.

Also, Justice Larbi noted that the Court-Connected ADR programme has been extended to 87 courts nationwide with at least five mediators assigned to each of the courts.

Regional ADR Secretariats staffed with an ADR Coordinator and other personnel have also been established in each of the ten regions.

“The ADR concept has served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster to the citizenry,” she stated.

According to her, the ADR concept has gone a long way to reducing the backlog of cases in the courts substantially due to the mass mediation exercise.

“This clearly indicates that the ADR mechanism is a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must, therefore, be embraced & nurtured for a quality justice delivery system,” she stressed.

Justice Larbi emphasized that ADR reduces the cost of litigation and makes justice more accessible to a larger number of people.

She, therefore, urged lawyers to embrace ADR for the benefit of the judicial system and the public.

“ADR is beneficial to lawyers as they tend to have happier clients. Clients are likely to be more satisfied with lawyers who help them select and implement appropriate and cost-effective options for resolving disputes. Satisfied clients are likely to be repeat clients and also recommend the lawyer to others,” she added.

She explained that the Judicial Service has since 2005 created space and the necessary environment to serve the litigating public with all the benefit of ADR to make quality justice real and accessible to all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

In addition to the ADR Act 2010, Act 798, section 72(1) of the Court Act 1993 (Act 459) provide that “Any court with Civil Jurisdiction and its officers shall promote reconciliation, encourage and facilitate the settlement of dispute in an amicable manner between and among persons over whom the court has jurisdiction.”

Order 1, Rule 1(12) of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rule 2004 and the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459) prescribe amicable resolution of cases before the courts as the most innovative way by which Quality Justice can be served to disputants.

By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com