Aug 1, 2017
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Week for the legal year has been launched at Ho in the Volta region with a quest to have more litigants adopting the use of ADR mechanisms to settle disputes.
The increased adoption of ADR will help to reduce the burden on the courts, and more importantly offer litigants an easier, faster and less expensive resolution of cases out of court.
Launching the Week on Monday, Mrs Justice Irene Charity Larbi, an Appeal Court Judge who is in charge of the Court-Connected ADR, said the out of court settlement mechanism has so far proven to be productive, reliable and convenient.
To build on the gains and promote the concept among Ghanaians, she said the Court-Connected ADR programme has been extended to 13 circuit and 54 district courts across the country, with at least three mediators assigned to each of the courts.
Addressing the media and stakeholders at the launch, Justice Larbi recalled that last year, 1,372 cases were referred for ADR, out of which 605 were settled, adding that the ADR concept had helped to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts due to the mass mediation exercise throughout the country.
Touching on the benefits of ADR, she explained that disputes could be settled within hours or few days using the ADR mechanisms, as against several undetermined periods at the traditional courts, adding that the decisions are mutually agreed upon, unlike in the courts where decisions rest solely on judges or magistrates.
“The ADR concept has served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, faster, easier, more expeditious and non-adversarial to the citizen,” she said, adding that it clearly indicated that the ADR mechanism was a reliable complementary tool for the traditional justice delivery system and must, therefore, be embraced and nurtured for an efficient justice delivery system.
The ADR Week is observed each Term in a Legal Year, during which parties who have cases pending in courts that are connected to the ADR programme are given the opportunity to have their cases settled through the ADR mechanisms such as mediation, negotiation and arbitration.
The week is also used to create mass public awareness in order to educate the citizenry on the use of ADR. Stakeholders, including judges, court officials and lawyers, are also sensitised to the ADR platform.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com