The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has urgently called for the establishment of the National Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre to promote the ADR regime in Ghana.
According to the Commission, the establishment of the Centre, as stipulated by the ADR Act 2010 Act 798, would provide the needed impetus for the desired growth in the adoption of ADR mechanisms by Ghanaians to settle disputes.
Mr Joseph Whittal, Commissioner of CHRAJ, believes that the delay in the establishment of the Centre is defeating the objective of the ADR Act.
In an interview with ADR Daily in Accra on the performance of ADR in Ghana, the Commissioner expressed his disappointment over the absence of the Centre, saying there was a need for the government to be proactive in that regard.
Section 114 of the ADR Act stipulates the setting up of a National ADR Centre, with a Governing Board, to serve as a regulatory organ for the ADR industry. Section 125 also stipulates the settling up of an ADR Fund to support the promotion of ADR.
However, eight years after the promulgating of the ADR Act, there seems to be no attempt by the government to actualise the Act regarding the establishment of the Centre and Fund.
Mr Whittal indicates that the continuous absence of the Centre and the Fund was denying Ghana’s ADR industry the needed platform to blossom towards promoting sustainable and quality access to justice.
According to him, ADR offers the real access to justice since it helps both the rich and poor to secure access to justice through ADR mechanisms that ensure a non-adversarial, cost-effective, speedy and confidential settlement of disputes.
He said once the ADR concept, which is recording remarkable results in Ghana, has been attested across the world to be the most appropriate mechanism for settling disputes, there was a need for Ghana to fully adopt and use it to enhance access to justice and promote good governance.
He reminded the government that access to justice remains a key indicator of good governance, and therefore ADR could be used to promote access to justice, especially for the vulnerable in society.
“We are talking about access to justice, and therefore the government should show more commitment to ADR,” he said.
Asked whether the limited resources could be a factor in the government’s inability to set up the National ADR Centre, he noted that good governance could only be achieved through investing in the right interventions.
“I have seen the government to be very proactive in various areas. This is also an area that needs government’s proactiveness,” he stressed.
The call by the Commissioner follows increasing appeals by ADR groups, including the Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners, for the setting up of the National Centre which they believe holds the key in turning Ghana into an ADR hub in Africa.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com