Togbe Hotormaho Amedzake, Chairman of the Court-Connected ADR Practitioners of Ghana, a group of mediators attached to the courts, has called for a change in the perception of ADR as an alternative to litigation.
Rather, he said ADR is an appropriate mechanism for dispute resolution and not an alternative.
According to him, ADR should be first resorted to by disputing parties for an amicable and non-adversarial settlement of disputes.
In an interview with ADR Daily in Accra, he explained that litigation should rather be the alternative to ADR mechanisms.
According to him, before the advent of the judicial system, society used ADR mechanisms to settle disputes, therefore making litigation in court an alternative to resort to in case of failed mediation or arbitration.
“ADR is appropriate and not an alternative,” he stressed.
He urged ADR practitioners to promote the practice as an “Appropriate” mechanism, adding that increased acceptance of ADR as an appropriate concept would help to deal with most disputes across the country to enhance national peace.
“The Appropriateness should be the hallmark of the profession,” he said.
Togbe Amedzake, who is also the Director of the Amedzake ADR Centre in Accra, called for a mandatory ADR system to be instituted in Ghana’s judicial system.
That, he said, would ensure that all civil cases would undergo mandatory mediation or arbitration as a pre-condition for litigation.
Currently, the Judicial Service operates a form of a mandatory mediation, known as the pre-trial conference, in the commercial courts, but Togbe Amedzake says that is not enough.
He believes the system has to be generalised to cover all civil cases.
He also criticised the present pre-trial conference system which involves judges presiding over the mediation, adding that the system does not ensure effectiveness.
According to him, since the judges, are the same people who preside over litigation cases, they are overburdened and would not have good time and patience, which are among the tenets of the ADR profession, for the mediation at the pre-trial conferences.
Togbe Amedzake believes there is the need for professional mediators to be engaged to preside over the pre-trial conferences so that in case of failure, a case would be pushed to a judge for full trial.
By: Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com