ADR helps decongest courts by 29,558 cases – CJ

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has helped the judiciary to reduce the load of the courts by 29,558 cases since its inception over the last one and half decades.

According to the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah, “this is a positive support ADR has offered the judiciary without which this load would have been borne by the courts under more stressful condition.”

The good news, he said, “is that the number of cases resolved at ADR are resolved absolutely without parties coming back to the court for appeals.”

ADR’s importance,  the Chief Justice noted “gives management of the Judicial Service every compelling grounds to focus attention on ADR and resource the ADR directorate to do more to make our courts efficient, user friendly and to make access to real justice.”

Justice Anin Yeboah was speaking at the launch of the ADR Week, under the theme “Alternative Dispute Resolution: A tool for peace and stability”.

Present to grace the occasion were district and high court judges, including the Ashanti Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Kofi Akowuah and Justice Irene-Charity Larbi, Justice of the Court of Appeal and Judge-in-charge of ADR, as well as a section of the public.

ADR was instituted in 2005 as an intervention 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 Chief Justice said all judges and magistrates had been trained in ADR and were all familiar with fundamental principles underpinning the use of ADR, and urged all lawyers who lacked capacity in the ADR to as “matter of urgency take steps to enhance their capacities so as to enable them contribute to the success of the programme”.

Justice Anin Yeboah underlined that ADR had become a core component of Ghana’s adjudication system meaning “a case in the court of Ghana today can be finally determined either through ADR or litigation.”

“Therefore, when a judge refers a case to ADR, parties in the matter should not feel slighted”, he emphasised.

He urged the registrars and general staff to handle ADR processes with the seriousness as they did with the regular court processes, adding that it empowers disputants to resolve their cases in an interest-based manner without concerning themselves with the strict dictates of the law.

On her part, Justice Larbi mentioned privacy as one important benefit of ADR because the media might pick valuable information and place it in the public domain when cases were heard in open court.

She said ADR helped parties to willingly comply with agreements they made after the ADR process, saying “people who design solutions to their own conflicts are more satisfied with the outcome than people who leave the resolution of their disputes in the hands of another authority.”

Justice Larbi said ADR was very important as it helped to decongest the courts to make judges have more time in handling cases not amenable to ADR thus making the judiciary more efficient.


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