The Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has called on Ghanaians to choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms as a means to resolve their disputes instead of litigation.
Addressing participants at a ceremony to officially open the Judicial Service annual ADR Week at the Supreme Court, Justice Akuffo said ADR, which is a much less expensive medium of resolving disputes that may arise between parties, has not really been the choice of justice seekers.
On the contrary, the traditional court system which is more expensive and stressful, has been the choice of the Ghanaian citizenry. This choice has resulted in a choked court system full of litigations that could have been resolved through Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration, which are all Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a method of resolving disputes without litigation. Public courts may be asked to review the validity of ADR methods, but they will rarely overturn ADR decisions and awards if the disputing parties formed a valid contract to abide by them. Arbitration and mediation are the two major forms of ADR.
Rising costs of litigation, and time delays continue to plague litigants, more states have begun experimenting with ADR programs. Some of these programs are voluntary while others are mandatory.
Court Connected ADR
As part of efforts to encourage the use of ADR, the Chief Justice announced that 107 courts throughout the country have ADR units connected to them. To that end, she charged judges who have ADR units attached to their courts to encourage litigants to resort to ADR.