The Alternative Disputes Resolution programme, a concept that complements the traditional court system, has now been extended to 87 courts nationwide with at least five mediators assigned to each of the courts.
Regional ADR Secretariats staffed with ADR Co-ordinators and other staffs have also been established in each of the ten regions.
An Appeal Court Judge, Justice Irene Charity Larbi said these today at the launch of the 2018 ADR Week which took place at the District Court ‘B’ in Sunyani under theme, “Quality Justice: the role of ADR.”
The Judicial Service has since 2005 created space and 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 vulnerable.
Section 72(1) of the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459) provides that “Any court with civil jurisdiction and its officers shall promote reconciliation, encourage and facilitate the settlement of dispute in amicable manner between and among persons over whom the court has jurisdiction.”
Order 1, Rule 1(12) of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2004 and the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459) prescribe amicable resolution of cases before the courts as the most innovative way by which quality justice can be done to disputants.
Justice Irene Charity Larbi, who is also a Judge in-charge of ADR, disclosed that a total of 3,486 cases were mediated out of court in 2017 out which 1,571 cases were settled, representing 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 to the citizenry”, she stated.
She said the ADR concept has gone a long way to reduce 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.”
She emphasized that ADR had reduced the cost of litigation and made justice more accessible to a greater number of people over the years.
According to Justice Larbi, ADR is beneficial to Lawyers as they tend to have happier clients. “Clients are likely to be more satisfied with lawyers who help them select and implement appropriate and cost effective options for resolving disputes. Satisfied clients are likely to be repeat clients and recommend the lawyer to others”, she said.
Speaking with Kwabena Obeng Akrofi on the Ark in the Morning, the National Coordinator for the group, Alex Nartey explained that the week was set aside to use the ADR to resolve cases pending in courts that were connected to the programme, and also to create mass public awareness in order to educate the citizenry on the use of the programme.
He added that the ADR concept had served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster.