The Court-Connected ADR Practitioners of Ghana (CAPOG), a group of mediators attached to the courts, has appealed to the Judicial Service for more support to enable them to do more.
According to the group, the practitioners need assistance for capacity building to enable them to regularly upgrade their skills to be abreast of the trends in professional ADR practice.
Togbe Hotormaho Amedzake III, Chairman of CAPOG, in an interview with ADR Daily in Accra, noted that capacity building for practitioners falls in line with the objective of the association, adding that they need support from the Judicial Service to undertake such training interventions.
Such capacity building, he believes would enhance the performance of the practitioners, and also help to expand their scope of operation in the Court-Connected ADR system.
He said the group was desirous of having the mandate of the Court-Connected ADR practitioners expanded to cover arbitration, adding that the limitation to only mediation was not the best.
In that regard, he explained that CAPOG was developing measures to enhance the competencies of the members, numbering over 215 in arbitration, as well as specialisation in various sectors of the economy.
He said although the members of CAPOG are all professional mediators, they needed regular retraining to be abreast of best practices.
Togbe Amedzake, who is the Director of the Amedzake ADR Centre in Accra, noted that although the Court-Connected ADR Programme was yielding results, there was more room for enhancement.
The practitioners, he said were committed to enhancing access to justice and the success of the ADR regime in the Judicial Service, but called for more collaboration from the judges and lawyers.
Such intensified collaboration, he believes, would help to use mediation to speedily clear the backlog of cases stacked at the courts.
In addition, he said the group looks forward to the mainstreaming of their conditions of service in the Judicial Service, adding that although the ADR programme has been mainstreamed, the service conditions of the practitioners, who are now quasi-staff of the Judicial Service, was yet to be integrated into the Service.
Figures from the Court-Connected ADR Programme show that a total of 3,486 cases were mediated in 2017 out of which 1,571 cases were settled, representing a 45 percent settlement rate.
This is an increase of 2,114 over the 1,372 cases mediated in 2016 in which 605 cases were settled successfully.
The programme has been extended to 87 courts nationwide with at least five mediators assigned to each of the courts.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com