Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has launched the National ADR Week of the Judicial Service in Accra with a call on Judges to be more ADR focused so as to ensure effective access to quality justice.
“Judges must resort to Appropriate (Alternative) Dispute Resolution (ADR) at every opportunity,” she said, as she espoused the increasing benefits of ADR in Ghana.
According to her, efforts to promote quality justice delivery cannot be successful without a conscious adoption and use of ADR mechanisms by the courts to settle disputes, to reduce the spate of litigation.
The ADR Week celebration, which was launched at the Supreme Court in Accra today for the current Legal Term, has the theme, “Quality justice: the role of ADR.”
She explained that 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 for the citizenry.
“This has also helped in 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 and nurtured for a quality justice delivery system,” she stressed.
According to her, ADR in general and Court-Connected ADR in particularly has come to stay, and acknowledged the increasing public interest in ADR.
“Nonetheless, it is about time Ghanaians deepen their commitment to the cause of ADR by resorting to interventions that make access to justice more meaningful than the adversarial system we are used to,” she stated.
She reminded the Judges that quality justice can only be said to have been done when the adjudication process is expeditious, devoid of unnecessary expense and 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.
Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, a Supreme Court Judge and Supervising Judge of the Court-Connected ADR Progamme, explained that the celebration is being marked nationwide.
As part of the celebration, she said mediators have been assigned to all the courts to propagate ADR, and also help litigating parties to resolve their cases that have been referred to ADR by Judges and Magistrates
In addition, the week would be used to create mass public awareness in order to educate all stakeholders including Judges, court officials, lawyers, as well as the general public on the use of ADR.
By Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com