About 2,070 out of a total of 4,112 cases referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), has been settled between January and December, 2018
throughout the country, a justice of the Court of Appeal and Judge-in-charge of ADR, Mrs Irene Charity Larbi, has revealed.
Justice Larbi, who was speaking at the launch of this year’s ADR week celebration on the theme: ‘Application for ADR by the courts, a shared responsibility for equality’, at the Koforidua District Court “B”, in the Eastern Region, said the number of settled cases represents 50 per cent of the total cases registered.
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 poor and vulnerable.
A week in each legal year term is set aside to resolve cases pending in courts that are connected to the ADR programme through mediation.
The week is also used to create mass public awareness in order to educate the citizenry in the use of ADR.
Justice Larbi said that the ADR has come to stay, and it was heartening that some members of the public were showing keen interest in the concept.
She indicated that quality justice could only be said to have been done when the adjudication process was expeditious, devoid of unnecessary expenses.
Justice Larbi said the programme ensured that all disputes between parties were completely, effectively and finally determined, and the multiplicity of proceedings concerning such matters was avoided.
“The regular court system being a right based process, though it has its own strength, is characterised by factors that occasion delay and cost, thereby making access to justice most of the time very difficult,” she said.
Justice Larbi said it was for that reason the Judicial Service adopted ADR to ensure that quality justice was not compromised, stating that the ADR offered great savings in financial and emotional cost to parties.
“The neutrality of the mediator in ADR helps parties to clarify issues, exchange information, be open to each other, identify and analyse issues and options, test the reality of views, evaluate the strength and weakness of their respective cases and the risk involved in litigation, all with a view to reaching an agreement mutually beneficial to both parties,” she explained.
Justice Larbi stressed that, “ADR cuts down the cost of litigation and thereby makes justice more accessible to a greater number of people”.
She said the ADR had served as a compliment to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster for the citizenry while it had also helped in reducing the blockage of cases in the courts substantially due to the mediation exercise.
Justice Larbi implored Ghanaians to deepen their commitment to the cause of justice, by resorting to interventions that made access to justice more meaningful than the adversarial system.
FROM DAVID KODJO, KOFORIDUA