86 ADR practitioners broaden skills

A workshop for 86 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practitioners was held at the weekend in Accra, to broaden their knowledge, skills and understanding of international conventions in the settlement of disputes.

ADR is the procedure for settling disputes without litigation, such as arbitration, mediation, or negotiation.

It was organised by the Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP), as part of its annual mandatory continuing professional development training programme to upgrade professional competence of members to be relevant in the fast changing national and global dynamics of the dispute resolutions.    

The President of the GNAAP, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, in his welcome address said that ADR practice cuts across many fields of society, consequently, it was required of members to be multi-skilled professionals in order to understand the multi-dimensional facets of conflicts.

The use of ADR tools as the preferred conflict resolution mechanism in terms of cost effectiveness and timely resolution of disputes in addition to other reconciliatory benefits keep increasing.

Records of the Judicial Service indicate that from 2007 to 2020, cases referred by the courts for Court-Connected Mediation were 56,361 out of which 26,568 cases were settled through mediation, representing a cumulative settlement rate of 48 percent.

He said a comparison of the settlement rate of cases handled by the courts and the settlement rates of the Court-Connected Mediation clearly showed that the settlement rate of the court-connected Mediation was far ahead of the cases handled by the courts, therefore, the need for ADR services to be enhanced.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said ADR system was more conciliatory, cost effective in addition to the benefits that it consumed less time and comparatively less adversarial, thereby the growing demands of the population in their preference for greater access ADR for efficient and cost effective justice

 According to him, the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Ghana gave credence to country’s  high rating as a hub for Africa’s integration, peace initiatives and dispute settlement.

Being the world’s largest free-trade area and expected to create a market for 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic (GDP) of $3 trillion AfCFTA, a lot of dispute settlement through the use of ADR was anticipated thus the need for  ADR practice to be enhanced for the task ahead.

 A resource person and private legal practitioner, Mr Ace Annan Ankomah, took participants via Zoom on the topic “United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation: Singapore Convention on Mediation.”

As part of the day’s event, a graduation ceremony was held for students who successfully completed training in ADR.

They were presented with certificates and later inducted as members of the association having sworn an oath to uphold the ethics of the practice of ADR.

A web portal for the GNAAP was also launched to enable members to conduct their activities virtual irrespective of  their location.

BY NORMAN COOPER  

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