ADR provides access to justice for all types of businesses
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By Edmund Mingle

Disputes are an inevitable part of business interactions and can arise due to various factors such as contractual disagreements, financial issues, breaches of agreements, or conflicting interests.

Effectively managing and resolving these disputes is of utmost importance for the smooth functioning and success of businesses. The adoption of Appropriate/Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, particularly mediation, offers significant benefits for businesses or business partners in Ghana who encounter disputes. The benefits are enormous.

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ADR facilitates the preservation of business relationships. Dispute resolution processes, such as negotiation and mediation, focus on finding mutually agreeable solutions. By encouraging open communication and collaboration, these methods help preserve business relationships. Resolving disputes amicably can prevent long-lasting conflicts and foster a sense of trust and goodwill between parties.

It minimizes business disruptions. Unresolved disputes can lead to significant disruptions in business operations, affecting productivity, efficiency, and profitability. By promptly addressing and resolving conflicts, businesses can minimize disruptions and maintain a conducive working environment. Amicable resolution of disputes allows parties to refocus their attention on core business activities and maintain continuity.

Ghana’s judiciary system favours ADR processes

ADR is also very cost-effective. Traditional court litigation can be costly and time-consuming, involving substantial legal fees, court expenses, and lengthy proceedings. In contrast, alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and negotiation are generally more cost-effective. These processes can save businesses significant financial resources by avoiding protracted court battles, legal fees, and associated expenses.

A key feature of ADR is expeditiousness. ADR methods offer more efficient and expeditious solutions compared to the traditional court system. Alternative methods like mediation and arbitration allow parties to have greater control over the process and the timeline for resolution. They provide flexibility in scheduling proceedings, allowing disputes to be resolved more quickly, which is particularly beneficial for businesses aiming for swift resolutions.

Confidentiality and privacy are other key features of ADR processes. Unlike the open court system, businesses are assured for their privacy and confidentiality. By keeping the details of the dispute confidential, and the resolution process private, businesses that engage in ADR processes can protect their reputation, trade secrets, and sensitive information. Confidentiality encourages parties to engage in open discussions without the fear of harming their public image or revealing sensitive business strategies.

ADR provides room for customized solutions. Negotiation and Mediation provide the opportunity for tailored and creative solutions. Due to the fact that parties decide the resolution, parties can explore options beyond legal remedies and craft agreements that address their specific needs and interests. This flexibility allows for more innovative and mutually beneficial resolutions, which may not be possible through litigation.

The benefit of flexibility in jurisdiction: In international business disputes, ADR methods offer the advantage of flexibility in choosing the jurisdiction and applicable laws. Parties can agree on a neutral jurisdiction or opt for specialized tribunals, which can provide more expertise and efficiency in resolving complex international disputes.

Regarding access to justice, dispute resolution methods provide a more accessible avenue for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to seek justice and resolve disputes. These processes are generally more informal, less intimidating, and involve lower barriers to entry compared to the formal court system, making them more accessible to a wider range of businesses.

Alternative dispute resolution is crucial for businesses to maintain relationships, minimize disruptions, and protect their financial and reputational interests. By embracing ADR methods, businesses can achieve cost-effective, efficient, and mutually satisfactory outcomes, promoting long-term success and sustainability.

Author’s mail: edmingle@adrdaily,com