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The Judicial Service of Ghana is marking the second ADR Week this year from today, Monday, July 19, throughout which the lower courts across the country will settle cases through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.

This week’s event, which is being held on the theme, “Making Our Courts User-friendly through the use of ADR,” is expected to end on Friday, July 23 for this legal year.

While urging disputants to take advantage of ADR to resolve their disputes, the Judicial Service in a statement, said a total of 131 courts will participate in the nationwide exercise.

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According to the statement, the focus of the Week is to reduce the backlog of cases at the 131 lower courts, consisting of 33 circuit courts and 98 district courts.

“The Bar, disputants, the media and the public are therefore encouraged to participate fully and cooperate with the Judicial Service to make this Legal Year Term’s ADR Week a success.”

The aim of the annual ADR programme is to ensure that access to justice in Ghana is made easier, cheaper, non-adversarial, expeditious, and flexible to all, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

As part of the commemoration, Justice Irene-Charity Larbi, a Court of Appeal Judge, who is in charge of ADR, will address a press conference in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region to appraise the media about the dividends from the ADR Week celebrations.

Since its inception in 2007, the Court-Connected ADR programme continues to achieve success in the settlement of cases referred to court-connected mediators, recording an average closure rate of about 49 per cent.

The year-on-year increase in the settlement rate comes as a result of renewed efforts by the Judicial Service to enhance the programme through various interventions, including the extension of the programme to more courts, and capacity building for court-connected mediators.

In addition, the Judicial Service has revised the Rules of Court Procedure to make ADR a mandatory precursor for all civil cases filed at the courts.

According to the Service, the prime objective of adopting and promoting ADR is to ensure that access to justice in Ghana is made easier, inexpensive, non-adversarial, expeditious and flexible to all, particularly the poor and vulnerable people in the society.

By Benjamin Nana Appiah/