Ghana records 28,672 cases at ADR

Chief Justice Georgina Wood

A total of 14,330 cases out of 28,672 were settled through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism from 2008 to 2013, representing 50 percent of the cases.

The ADR mechanism was introduced in 2001 by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.

Justice Irene Danquah, who is in charge of ADR Programme, disclosed this in speech read on her behalf by the Central Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Justice G. S. Suurbaare during a press briefing held in Cape Coast to mark the commencement of National ADR Week on the theme, ‘Access to justice: Integrity in justice delivery.’

According to him, a week in each legal year is set aside to raise awareness about the ADR mechanism.

Justice Suurbaare said the ADR mechanism is expected to be adopted in all courts across the country by 2017.

He added that the ADR mechanism complements the Traditional Court System to make access to justice cheap, easy, expeditious, non-adversarial for the citizens.

The Supervising High Court Judge indicated that the ADR concept has helped substantially to reduce the backlog of cases pending at the courts and appealed to the public to show interest in the system.

He noted that 53 districts and circuit courts across the country had adopted the ADR system with at least three mediators assigned to each court.

Owing to the fact that land related cases have become dominant in the courts, the Judicial Service, in collaboration with Lands Administration Project, has trained 30 surveyors to be used as mediators on pilot basis to reduce land cases in the Land Courts in Greater Accra Region, he indicated.

The Central Regional ADR Coordinator, Evans R. Abbeyquaye revealed that 188 out of 257 cases were settled through ADR from January to August this year at all the six selected ADR Courts across the region.

Mr Abbeyquaye mentioned that the ADR mechanism had been adopted by courts in Cape Coast, Dunkwa-on-Offin, Agona Swedru, Assin Fosu and Winneba.

“During the week, parties who have cases pending in courts connected to ADR programmes were given opportunity to have their cases settled through mediation where mediators were assigned to those courts to help the parties to resolve their cases while public education is carried out to enable Ghanaians to know and appreciate the use of ADR in the settlement of disputes,” he added.

Mr Abbeyquaye said cases on breach of contract, land, rent, verbal assault and breach of public peace were settled through the ADR mechanism.

The press briefing was attended by all high court judges in Cape Coast, magistrates, registrars, staff and ADR mediators.

The ADR programme is being funded by donor partners such as UNDP, DANIDA, GTZ and MDA.

DANIDA is currently responsible for the payment of the mediators.

source : Daily Guide