Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah, a Court of Appeal Judge has called on lawyers to support the promotion of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Ghana by advising their clients to opt for ADR mechanisms to resolve disputes instead of court litigation.
By doing so, she said lawyers would secure best results for their clients through the expeditious, inexpensive, confidential, and amicable settlement of cases by using ADR mechanisms, especially mediation.
Justice Mensah-Homiah, who has oversight responsibility for the Court-Connected ADR Programme of the Judicial Service, made the call when she launched the 2023 ADR Week for the Legal Year Term at the Achimota Circuit Court in Accra today.
Describing the perception that ADR does not yield revenue for lawyers, as a misconception, she noted that adopting ADR could rather help lawyers to generate more income.
She explained that opting for ADR could enable lawyers to have more cases settled swiftly, adding that “as they use ADR to settle more minor cases quickly, more time and other resources, can then be devoted to major cases.”
“ADR will enable lawyers to rather earn more,” she stressed, and urged them learn about ADR so they can effectively advise their clients on the various ADR mechanisms and respective processes.
The annual week-long event, held three times in a legal year with the aim of promoting public awareness of ADR benefits and services at the courts, has the theme, “Improving access to justice in a post- pandemic through the use of ADR.”
In line with the theme, Justice Mensah-Homiah encouraged stakeholders in the CCADR process to be innovative in providing ADR services to the public, and called for the introduction of an Online Dispute Resolution system.
“With the rise in remote work, virtual communication and virtual courts, I advocate a Hybrid CCADR which will combine in-person and virtual ADR processes to accommodate the varying needs and preferences of parties.
“In a post-pandemic era, ADR service providers will need to be more flexible, creative and adaptable in order to effectively resolve disputes,” she stressed.
In addition, she urged her colleague Judges to continue to promote ADR practice by offering the needed support to court users and mediators.
“To my fellow Judges, I say that our role as Judges should not preclude us from facilitating or promoting CCADR. Let us be drive and be dedicated to the CCADR process,” she stated.
Justice Mensah-Homiah commended the court mediators for their contribution and sacrifices for the growth of the CCADR Programme, and assured them of the necessary logistical support from the Service.
The Judicial Service has currently engaged 635 trained mediators, with a least five mediators assigned to each of the present 132 ADR-connected courts, made up of 99 District and 33 Circuit Courts. The newly opened Achimota Circuit court would be connected to the CCADR programme during the Week.
The courts across the country are expected to devote the ADR week for the settlement of cases using ADR mechanisms, particularly mediation.
The launching ceremony was attended by Judges from various courts in Greater Accra, Court Registrars, Heads of Departments of the Judicial Service, Lawyers, Mediators and disputants.
By Edmund Mingle/ adrdaily.com