The judicial service of Ghana has officially launched the Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] week programme for this year under ther theme “QUALITY JUSTICE: THE ROLE OF ADR” held at the Takoradi Judicial Service, District Court, market circle on Tuesday 18th of July, 2018 in the Western Region.
The Judge –in- charge of Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR], Her Ladyship Justice Irene Charity Larbi in connection with the Court addressed the importance of the launch which will going to deepen Ghanaians commitment to the cause of justice by resorting to the interventions that will make access justice and more meaningful than the adversarial system many are used to.
In an interview with Shella Ama Boaduwa, His Worship Thomas K. Ofedie, said ADR is a term that refers to a variety of techniques for resolving disputes without resorting to litigations in the courts. “Our court connected ADR programme uses Mediation mainly fir the resolution of cases. ADR has a lot of benefits that support quality justices’ delivery”.
His Worship Thomas K. Ofedie also referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR]as a good policy in reference to, Order 1, Rule1 of the high court[civil procedure] Rules, 2004 provides thus, “ these rules shall be interrupted and applied so as to achieve speedy and effective justice, avoid delays and unnecessary expenses, and ensure that as far as possible, all matters in dispute between parties may be completely, effective and finally determined and the multiplicity of proceedings concerning any of such matters avoided.” He also made other references in the court which constitute to the policy or the concept.
The judicial service of Ghana has adopted the Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR]to ensure to quality justice is not compromised and urged judges to resort to ADR always. When compared to conventional litigation, ADR provides a healthier method for resolving disputes by assisting Parties to resolve conflicts which arises within an ongoing relationship such as families, landlord and tenants, neighbors and business associates, timeously.
ADR also helps decongest the courts-thus enabling judges to have more time in handling cases which are not amenable to ADR. This undoubtedly makes the judiciary more efficient. It also offers great savings in financial and emotional costs to the parties. Thus the neutrality of the mediator in ADR helps the parties to clarify issues, exchange information, by being open to each other. It enables emotional needs to be expressed i.e. hurts, disappointments, anger, resentments, misunderstandings, fears, shame, and humiliations, and also empowers individuals to be satisfied of having the satisfaction of being really heard, which contributes to a mutually beneficial outcome.
The judicial service has since 2005created space for the necessary environment to serve the litigating public with all the benefits of ADR in order to make quality justice real and accessible to all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
During the use of the ADR, mediators during every week, parities who have cases pending in Courts that are connected to the ADR Programme are given the opportunity to have their cases settled through mediation. Mediators are assigned to each Court to help the parties resolve cases that have been referred to ADR by Magistrates and Judges.
Currently, the ADR programme has been extended to 107 Courts across the nation with at least five  Mediators assigned to each of these Courts. Regional ADR Secretariats staffed with a Regional ADR Coordinator and staff have been established in all the 10[Ten] Regions.
A total of 590 mediators have been trained and assigned to these 107 courts connected to the ADR programme.
Between January to December, 2017 a total of three thousand, four hundred and eighty-six [3,486] cases were mediated out of which one thousand, five hundred and seventy-one [1,571] cases were settled, representing a 45% settlement rate.
The ADR concept has served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster for the citizenry.
This has also helped in reducing the backlog of cases in the courts substantially due to the mass mediation exercise. This clearly indicates that the ADR, mechanism is a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must therefore be embraced and nurtured for a quality justice delivery system.
Source: www.thepressradio.com / Shella Morcher