ADR Week launched in K’dua

Justice of the Court of Appeal and judge in charge of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Her Ladyship Justice Irene-Charity Larbi has stated that the excellence in the judicial system can only be achieved if judicial outcomes are not products of long drawn-out processes that lead to Pyrrhic victories for the parties in a dispute.

She, therefore, urged judges, lawyers and parties involved in disputes to resort to the ADR concept.

She made these remarks at the launch of the ADR Week at the District Court ‘A’ in Koforidua.

It has been 16 years of implementing the court-connected ADR programme, which is intended to ease pressure on the regular court system and to create a platform that would offer disputants the opportunity to play a key role in resolving their disputes.

The ADR also serves as a complement to the traditional court systems in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster for the citizenry.

At the launch, Justice Irene charity Larbi gave statistics on the cases mediated on for last year and this year .

From January to June 2021, 4,626 cases were referred to the ADR, 1,941 were settled representing a settlement rate of 42 percent with 845 referred back to the court while 1,946 is still pending.

Last year, from January to December, a total of 5,455 cases were mediated, out of which 2,312 were settled, representing a 42 percent settlement rate.

Theme for this year’s ADR National Week is ‘Making Courts User-friendly through the use of ADR’.

Justice Irene-Charity Larbi noted the courts can only be said to be friendly when the adjudication process is expeditious, devoid of unnecessary expense and ensures that as far as possible, all matters in dispute between parties are completely effective and finally determined and the multiplicity of proceedings concerning such matters are avoided.

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She pointed out that the regular court system being a right based process though has its own strengths, is characterized by factors that occasion delays and cost, thereby making access to justice most of the time very difficult.

“On the strength of the above provisions in the rules of the court and the courts act, the Judicial Service had adopted ADR to ensure that access to justice is not hindered.

“You can imagine the embarrassment a tenant who has committed no crime has to face in coming to open court to plead for time to vacate premises in such a hostile environment. This is one such example of the downside of conventional litigation,” she underscored, adding that “people value highly the privacy the ADR provides”.

Justice Irene-Charity Larbi further stated that ADR decongests the courts and provides an efficient judiciary system which gives investors confidence to engage in business.

“The efficiency of the justice system is one of the elements investors look out for when deciding whether to invest in a particular country or not.”

The ADR Programme has been extended to 131 courts across the nation with at least five mediators assigned to each of these courts.

A total of 635 mediators have been trained and assigned to these 131 courts.

The judiciary intends to use the week to create public awareness and resolve more cases.

By Yvonne Neequaye||Ghana