Professor Kofi Quashigah, President of the Ghana Association of Certified Mediators and Arbitrators (GHACMA) has noted that although the courts are there to resolve disputes and handle cases between parties, litigation is often not the best solution.
He therefore suggested disagreeing individuals resort more to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism as a good alternative, stressing that very often both parties went home satisfied.
In a keynote address at the opening of the new GHACMA office in Accra on Tuesday, Prof Quashigah said apart from the huge financial costs involved in litigation, the winner-takes-all nature did not always solve the salient problem.
He again noted that one major hindrance to the orthodox legal system was the unintelligibility of the legal process which made the parties falter very often.
Quoting a 2005 World Development Report which admits the existence of many shortfalls in the orthodox court system, he agreed with the recommendation that domestic courts and ADRs should be strengthened.
According to him, ADR had been identified as one of the interventions which stood a good chance of improving access to justice for the majority of people because of its minimal cost, wider availability and speedy resolution of disputes.
Furthermore, he noted, they were characteristic of healing relationships than the court process.
He said GHACMA, the umbrella body of all certified mediators and arbitrators in the country, would work for the realization of its vision and mission of having a situation in the country where ADR would become the first choice in the settlement of disputes in the country.
On his part, Mr. Austin Gamey, CEO and ADR Consultant, Gamey & Gamey Academy of Mediation, said a new day had dawned on the country with the new approach to resolving disputes and related matters, stressing the need to embrace what he called 'Alternative, Appropriate and African Dispute Resolution'.
“GHACMA will be different from other systems of adjudicating disputes which by their nature are adversarial, power-based and coercive and have unwittingly contributed sometimes to the break-up of families, collapse of enterprises and nations going to war,” he stated.
Ha called on mediators to be objective and fair in the discharge of their duties and explained that the intellectual, emotional, social and technical attributes of the mediator would be revealed through his or her conduct.
Finally, Austin Gamey appealed to GHACMA to be neutral, promising that the code of conduct of the association would be published regularly at www.ghacma.org for public discourse.
Goodwill messages were read on behalf of the United States Embassy, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Centre for Conflict Resolution (CENCOR).
Present at the launch were Hon. Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Justice Georgina Woode, Justice Brobbey, Mrs. Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, and General (Rtd) Arnold Quainoo.