In the quest to enhance access to justice, the Judicial Service of Ghana has rolled out a special initiative to open 100 new ADR-connected courts across the country.
The courts, which would have modern facilities for ADR services, consist of 100 District Courts being gradually inaugurated by the Judicial Service.
When completed, the number of ADR-connected courts will increase from the present 132 to 232 District and Circuit Courts.
Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah, a Justice of the Court of Appeal with oversight responsibility on the Court Connected ADR (CCADR) Programme, announced the special initiative when she launched the ADR Week for the Legal Year Term at the Achimota Circuit Court in Accra today.
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.”
“Measures are being taken to expand the CCADR scope to ensure that every Ghanaian everywhere accesses it, and more importantly sustain it for a greater impact,” said Justice Mensah-Homiah.
According to her, in spite of challenges, the CCADR programme continued to make progress with more court users opting for ADR mechanisms to resolve their cases, although the patronage of ADR remains low.
She, therefore, urged all stakeholders to support in promoting a mass adoption of ADR for the resolution of disputes.
Justice Mensah-Homiah particularly encouraged the business community to adopt ADR mechanisms for the settlement of commercial disputes, describing ADR as cost effective, expeditious, confidential, and offers control to parties.
“Litigation is expensive, and ADR can help businesses to avoid costly litigation,” she added.
She 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