Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, last Wednesday advised litigants to try the processes of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism to settle disputes in the first instance.
She said in the event that the ADR process failed, they were at liberty to seek redress in the courts. Mrs Justice Wood gave the advice when she commissioned a District Court at Zebilla built by the Bawku West District Assembly at a total cost of GH¢93,500 in the Upper East Region.
Accoding to her,'The ADR mechanism if fully embraced would help reduce the work load in our Courts and this would lead to speedy resolution of disputes in the Courts.' She said the public was entitled to quality justice delivered in good time.
She said, 'It is the mission of the Judicial Service to promote the smooth and efficient administration of justice to all manner of persons without discrimination, the objective being to create an enabling environment for good governance'.
She said a prime objective of the Judicial Service was to ensure that justice became available to Ghanaians in all Districts. Mrs Justice Wood commended the Bawku West District Assembly for building the courthouse. She also praised the former District Chief Executive who initiated the project and saw to its successful completion.
She expressed regret that many court buildings and residential facilities housing Judges and Magistrates were in a deplorable condition while some areas did not have any at all.
She appealed to District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to help provide those facilities for the Judiciary, adding that it was their legal responsibility to assist in bringing the administration of justice to the people.
'If this is not done, the ordinary person may not have an immediate and easy access to a court of law to resolve any dispute he or she may have with neighbours. The tendency, therefore in such a situation, is for an aggrieved person to resort to self help which is not good', she said.
Mrs Agnes Chigabatia, Deputy Regional Minister and Acting District Chief Executive, expressed the hope that the presence of an active court would minimise crime, especially, cattle rustling, stealing and armed robbery.
'We are therefore hopeful that the provision of a district magistrate court will go a long way to ease these problems and make our people enjoy a high level of peace and freedom. We are aware that our people are mostly farmers and traders and it is unacceptable that what they struggle to accumulate through their sweat is taken away illegally from them by criminals', she said.
She added that people in the district presently relied on the courts in Bolgatanga and Bawku, a situation, she said, was putting financial stress on the people because of the distance.