Ghana needs more ADR professionals
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Aug 8, 2017

The Head of the Ashaiman Central ADR Centre has called for more awareness creation and training of more ADR professionals to make the practice accessible to more Ghanaians.

Mr. Gabriel Atsu, speaking to ADR Daily on the current state of ADR practice explained that the practice has not achieved a widespread awareness in the country due to the limited knowledge people have regarding its benefits in resolving conflicts.

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“One of the challenges facing ADR practice in Ghana is low awareness. We need to do more education for people to understand why ADR is in existence and more people would have to be trained to handle ADR cases across the country,” Mr. Atsu said.

According to him, one of the ways this can be addressed is for government to embark on training of some security agencies including the Ghana Police Service and the Immigration Service with adequate knowledge on the use and importance of ADR mechanisms in resolving conflict, and  for them to refer some minor/civil cases within the  confines designated in the ADR Act 798 to ADR centres for speedy settlement.

“The police can be referring civil cases and some minor cases to the ADR centres for quick resolution but because they are not conversant with the ADR practice, they refer all cases to the regular courts and if it goes there, the courts then refer most of the cases back to the ADR centers.

Mr. Atsu noted that there has been a growing trend in the number of cases referred by the court and directly reported to his centre for settlement. “The Ashaiman ADR Centre, Mr. Atsu noted received close to 1200 cases in 2016 out of which almost 80% were resolved but with much pressure due to the fact that our staff capacity does not match the workload.

Some of the cases that the centre receives include rent, debt, marital and minor assault cases, child maintenance cases, as well as cases involving households.

Touching on challenges facing the ADR Centre in Ashaiman, the Senior Mediator pointed to the poor state of their offices and lack of sufficient staff, calling on  the government and other organizations to assist the centre with descent offices to carry out with their practice since mediation thrives in an atmosphere of confidentiality.

He also urged the government and the Judicial Service to put measures in place to ensure that more people were trained for the practice in order to increase the workforce to meet the increasing demand at the ADR Centres.

ADR practice over the years is beginning to gain a strong hold in the country. It was officially initiated by Former Chief Justice (CJ), Georgina Theodora Wood owing to the backlog of cases at the various courts across the country.

The practice was piloted in some selected districts courts in Accra and Tema between 2005 and 2007 with encouraging results.

To ensure uniformity in the practice of the ADR programme, an ADR uniform practice manual was launched in 2007 to guide practitioners which were subsequently reviewed to be in tune with the new ADR Act, 2010 (Act 798).

The Act, provide for the settlement of disputes by arbitration, mediation and customary arbitration, to establish an Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre and to provide for related matters was promulgated.

Since its inception, a total of 295 mediators have been trained and assigned to these 67 courts connected ADR programme across the country.

Currently, the ADR programme has been extended to all high and circuit courts across the country, with at least three mediators assigned to each of these courts.

By: Francis Tandoh/

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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.