The 2022 Alternative (Appropriate) Dispute Resolution (ADR) Week of the Judicial Service has been launched in Ho in the Volta Region today, with the aim of using ADR to make the courts more user-friendly.
The Week, which is being observed for the 2022 legal year term, has the theme, “Making our court’s user friendly through the use of ADR.” It also has an objective to sensitize the public about the usefulness and availability of ADR services at the courts.
A total of 131 ADR-connected courts, consisting of 31 Circuit Courts and 98 District Courts are taking part in the week-long exercise during which cases would be settled through ADR mechanisms such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Launching the Week at the Ho High Court, Justice Irene Charity Larbi, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and the Judge in charge of the Court-Connected ADR Programme of the Judicial Service, encouraged Ghanaians to adopt ADR for the settlement of disputes due to the immense benefits.
The practice of ADR, she said, continues to significantly complement the traditional justice system, stressing the need for the citizenry to increasingly patronise ADR services either at the courts or at private ADR centers across the country.
According to Justice Larbi, the Court-Connected ADR programme was instituted in 2005 as an intervention to ease pressure on the regular court system and to create a platform that would offer disputants the opportunity to play a key role in resolving their disputes.
She stated that the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2004 and the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459), prescribe amicable resolution of cases before the courts as the most innovative way by which justice can be delivered in an expeditious and amicable manner.
“Our courts can only be said to be friendly when the adjudication process is expeditious, devoid of unnecessary expenses.
“It also ensures that as far as possible all matters in dispute between parties are completely, effectively and finally determined and the multiplicity of proceedings concerning such matters are avoided,” she stated
From experience, she explained that ADR equally helps parties to willingly comply with agreements they make after the process.
“People who design solutions to their own conflicts are more satisfied with the outcome than people who leave the resolution of their dispute in the hands of another person or authority, and they have a stronger commitment to comply with such agreements than those of which they have had no say,” she said.
She advised the public to continue to use the ADR mechanisms since they are less expensive and engage in a less formal process that produces settlement outcomes that are acceptable to all parties.
Justice George Boadi, Supervising High Court Judge, Ho, for his part, stressed the need for all stakeholders to contribute towards sustaining the progress of ADR in Ghana, saying “ADR sustenance is critical in our goal of promoting excellence, speed, and efficiency in our judicial administration.”