Justice Frances Barbara Ackah-Yensu
Justice Frances Barbara Ackah-Yensu
- Advertisement -

In the national effort to address the increasing environmental degradation confronting Ghana, a Supreme Court Judge nominee, Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, has advocated using Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve environment-related disputes.

According to her, employing ADR can help to resolve many of the environment-related disputes, which have clogged the courts, in an expeditious manner.

She, therefore, called for an amendment of the ADR Act 2010, Act 798 to allow for the use of ADR mechanisms to resolve environment-related civil cases.

- advertisement -

Answering a question about the posture of the Judiciary in the fight against illegal mining, during her vetting by Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Tuesday, Justice Ackah-Yensu believes that the laws must be utilised in addressing the menace of illegal mining.

Section 1 of the ADR Act states that “this Act applies to matters other than those that relate to (a) the national or public interest; (b) the environment; (c) the enforcement and interpretation of the Constitution; or (d) any other matter that by law cannot be settled by an alternative dispute resolution method.”

The call by Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, who is currently a Justice of the Court of Appeal, adds to growing advocacy seeking the amendment of the ADR Act to allow the use of ADR methods to settle civil environmental cases.

In December 2018, a forum of senior Judges and Lawyers called for the use of ADR, particularly arbitration in resolving disputes that relate to the environment.

Around the world, many countries including New Zealand, India, Australia, China,  Thailand, and the many US States are increasingly using ADR to resolve environmental disputes.

In addition, the use of ADR, especially mediation has found support in various treaties and international charters such as the United Nations Convention On Laws Of The Sea (UNCLOS), the Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer, and the WTO Dispute Settlement Regime, amongst others.