As the observation of the ADR Week by the Judicial Service of Ghana ends, the Court-Connected ADR Practitioners of Ghana (CAPOG) is calling on the government to establish an ADR Fund to effectively promote and sustain the growth of the ADR system in the judiciary.
According to the group, a sustainable source of funding for ADR services in the Judicial Service and the public sector in general, has become critical as the ADR industry grows with rapidly increasing public patronage.
The availability of a Fund, CAPOG believes, will enable the government, through the Judicial Service, to effectively pay the remuneration of mediators, conduct regular capacity building, and cater for related expenditure.
Togbe Amedzake, Chairman of CAPOG, in an interview with ADR Daily in Accra, said the group is confident that such a fund will address the financial constraints bedeviling Court-Connected ADR practice.
Asked how such a fund can be financed, Togbe Amedzake said “CAPOG proposes that a certain per centage of case filing fees paid by court users be earmarked for the ADR Fund.”
Currently court mediators are paid meagre allowances from the Consolidated Fund, characterized by long delays and irregular payments that have the potential of demotivating the practitioners.
“Also, most of the current court mediators are aging, and if we want the system to attract and retain young professional ADR practitioners to sustain the gains, then this is an issue the Judicial Service and the government needs to prioritize,” he stressed.
Togbe Amedzake, who had earlier interacted with court users at the Kaneshie Court in Accra about the benefits of ADR, in line with the ADR Week, commended the Judicial Service for the provision of ADR facilities in the new court houses that are being opened across the country.
He, however, called for attention for the old court buildings that do not have facilities for ADR services, saying the deplorable state of some of the courts have to be addressed.
“The environment for holding mediation sessions counts a lot in building public confidence in ADR,” he said.
Touching on the progress of ADR, particularly mediation in the court system, he said the “future looks bright,” adding that more judges are now increasingly referring cases to ADR for settlement, while more court users also appreciate the need to opt for mediation.