The Judicial Service of Ghana has commended the Gamey and Gamey Group for its immense contribution in entrenching the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the country.
Justice Irene Charity Larbi, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and Judge in Charge of Court Connected ADR Programme, conveying the commendation of the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah at the Group’s 2022 joint graduation and matriculation ceremony for Professional Executive Master of ADR trainees at Tema on Saturday, described the capacity building role the organisation is playing as laudable.
“The Judicial Service and the Chief Justice appreciates the amount of effort you are making to build the capacity of ADR practitioners, a skill that has become so critical in our jurisprudence today,” Justice Larbi said.
The Gamey and Gamey Group has since 2003 trained over 600 professional ADR practitioners and offered negotiation, mediation and arbitration services in various sectors.
Addressing the graduation session as the Special Guest of Honour, Justice Larbi the explained that the expansion in the practice and adoption of ADR for the resolution of disputes as a result of legal reforms, require more skilled ADR professionals to respond to the growing demand for ADR services.
“Our recent legislative reforms have extended the use of ADR to cover critical aspects of our legal processes such that the outcome of ADR processes do not only affect domestic and traditional informal sectors but also assume critical equitable and legal interests of disputing parties including criminal justice,” she added.
She cited the Copyright Law 1985, (PNDCL 110), Minerals and Mining Act 1994 (Act 475),Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (479), Free Zones Act 1995 (Act 504), Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) and the Lands Act 2020 (Act 1036) as some of the legislations that make provision for the use of ADR in resolving disputes.
For instance, she urged ADR practitioners to enhance their knowledge in the real estate development sector and in land related matters in order to be able to complement the justice system with their services as the new Land Act makes ADR mandatory for land cases.
Quoting Section 98(1) of the Land Act 2020 (Act 1036) she said “an action concerning any land or interest in land in a registration district shall not be commenced in any Court unless the procedures for resolution of dispute under the ADR Act 2010 (Act 798) have been exhausted.”
Section 98(2) also states that “where at the time of publication of a notice under section 96 of the Land Act, the Registrar has notice of an action or proceedings concerning land or interest in land in the registration district referred to the notice is pending in a Court or is subject to any ADR Resolution proceedings, the Land Registrar shall note any claim under this Act in the respect of the same land or interest but no further action shall be taken on the claim until the matter is determined by the Court of settle by Alternative Dispute Resolution.”
Dr Janet Ampadu-Fofie, Chairperson of Public Services Commission, who chaired the event, congratulated the 29 graduands for the achievement and urged them to live above reproach and offer quality services as they commence their journey as professional ADR practitioners.
Mr Austin Gamey, CEO of Gamey and Gamey Group, in his welcome address, called for the increased use of ADR mechanisms in the resolution of community, national and international disputes.
He cited recent uprisings and coups in West Africa as a result of failure by nations to properly resolve pertinent national issues, which call for the intervention of professional mediators.
“In Ghana, we have the raging E-Levy controversy, the dispute between UTAG and its Employer, threats of labour strike action, and other simmering problems, in addition to marital, religious, land, and chieftaincy disputes that have engulfed the Ghanaian society.
“Our courts are overwhelmed with some of these cases and the earlier we begin to use professional ADR practitioners who are truly impartial, the better for the nation and the world at large.
According to him, upon the coming into force of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) and the ADR Act 2010 (Act 798) all educational institutions, organizations, and leadership at all levels were expected to go through a paradigm shift to discover the new creativity and innovation that the laws envisage in building relationships, communication and to learn the art and science of the new interest-based-negotiation and the various forms of mediation and arbitration processes.
“Unfortunately we all slept and today, we are suffering from a fatal mechanistic paradigm paralysis instead of an organic paradigm shift,” he said, citing the impasse between UTAG and the government as a clear example of the paralysis.