10.01.2008 General News

Build Credible ADR Infrastructure -CJ

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Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice (CJ), yesterday underscored the need to build a robust and credible Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) infrastructure within the court system.
This, she said, would help the Judiciary to respond to the growing needs of Commercial Litigation, an inevitable by-product of the socio-economic development taking place in the country.
Mrs Justice Wood made the call at a day's workshop organised jointly by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the American Bar Association's Section of International Law on ADR as part of GBA's Continuing Legal Education.
The workshop, under the theme; 'ADR in Commercial Litigation', was aimed at educating legal practitioners on the growing and effective use of ADR mechanisms in Commercial Litigation in the country.
She noted that in many jurisdictions, ADR had been identified as one of the pragmatic solutions to the difficulties appearing in dispute resolution, particularly, increased delays and mounting costs of litigation.
The CJ said lawyers who had been reluctant in accepting the role of ADR on Commercial Litigation were the conservative and tradition-bound practitioners brought up on the principle that the adjudicatory process was the only safe way to resolve disputes and that other courses of action did not simply provide the correct results.
She stated that some lawyers were also afraid that the more parties in commercial litigation resorted to the use of ADR, it would have a negative impact on their financial gains.
'Our colleagues who fear the loss of power, influence and prestige, forget that truly, in a developing economy such as ours, with all its many socio-economic problems, there is a greater satisfaction in taking up the role of the lawyer as a peacemaker than garnering the pickings from clients whose lives or relationships have been ruined by litigation.'
She hoped the ADR would appeal to many a litigant who throng the courts in search of justice, adding, 'that way, limited judicial resources may be more profitably focused on attending to cases of strong public interest points that require our courts' authoritative decisions.'  
Nii Osah Mills, President of GBA, urged lawyers and non-lawyers to fully embrace the ADR concept, which he said, was cost-effective, in order to help reduce litigations and backlog of cases at the law courts.    
Topics treated at the workshop included; 'What's New in International Litigation and Arbitration?' 'Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses in International Agreements', 'The Arbitration Award and Its Enforcement' and 'The Changing Face of Legal Practice - The Lawyer as Peacemaker and Mediator.'

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