Business disputes are deemed normal by investors as a result of varying business interests among partners.
Most investors are not worried about occurrence of business disputes because they would naturally occur. What they care about most is the availability of dispute resolution and justice delivery systems to protect their investments.
In that vein, the government of Ghana, and its agencies such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, continues to advertise the country’s strong judicial system to attract local and foreign investors.
Although the courts may have served investors, the high cost of litigation, continue to push investors to look for more effective and efficient dispute resolution mechanisms.
In a conscious attempt to avoid the courts in case of a dispute, an increasing number of organisations now include mediation and arbitration clauses in contracts and agreements.
It demonstrates the hike in appreciation of ADR as means of ensuring a speedy, inexpensive, confidential and non-adversarial resolution of business disputes.
The trend, according to conflict resolution analysts, makes Ghana’s Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) industry vital in promoting investor confidence in Ghana’s economy.
Although the Ghana Judicial Service currently runs a Pre-trial conference at the Commercial Courts to first mediate cases, the analysts believe more business people do not want to go to the courts at all to avoid wasting time and money.
In that regard, Justice Irene Larbi, an Appeals Court Justice in charge of the Court-Connected ADR programme, believes that an efficient practice of ADR particularly at the private sector would make the country an investor friendly environment because investors would be sure that with ADR they can settle their disputes without necessarily going to court.
That, according to ADR experts, means that the country’s ADR regime has to quickly develop to be able to effectively serve the business community.
David Agbee, Executive Director of the Ghana Institute of Governance and Security believes that beyond encouraging companies to input mediation and arbitration, efficient ADR facilities and professionals should be available to offer quality services.
“This is because if companies have nice arbitration and mediation clauses and yet do not fine quality ADR facilities to aid them to resolute their disputes, they may be pushed to head for the courts,” he said.
The presence of more high quality mediation and arbitration centres in Ghana, would encourage multinational firms to choose Ghana as their seat of arbitration, rather that choosing foreign seats that come with more cost.
That would also help to boost foreign investor confidence in Ghana’s economy.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com