22.12.2005 Regional News

Legal AID advises on resort to court processes

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Ho, Dec. 22, GNA - The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism has been helpful to the Volta Region branch of the Legal Aid Board (LAB) in mitigating the pressure of having to resort to the court processes in disposing of cases brought to it.

This is, especially so, given the unwillingness of lawyers to take cases referred to them by the Board because of unattractive fees. Mr. Godwin T.K.T. Kpoble, Volta Regional Director of the LAB made these observations at a sensitisation workshop organized by the Board on Thursday.

He said, out of about 124 applications received by the Board so far this year, over half have been disposed of mostly by way of the ADR mechanisms.

"There are still a lot of cases which are still being dealt with by the ADR method", he said.

Mr Kpoble said between 2000 and 2003, the Board was able to dispose of a total of 476 cases mostly civil.

The Board was also able to get juveniles and pregnant women and babies kept in prison custody to gain their freedom.

"Remanded suspects were also assisted with lawyers to get bail after they have been remanded for so many years," Mr. Kpoble said. Mr Kpoble however, regretted that the Board has not been accessible to potential applicants from the southern and northern parts of the region due to geographical limitations and logistical limitations facing the Board.

He said in the few cases where applications came from such places, the applicants could not make up follow-ups.

Mr Kpoble said the Board was managing to function under adverse conditions compounded by the fact that "applicants expect too much and mostly impatient because the services are free". The participants on their part called for collaboration with allied state agencies as a means of reaching more people who needed legal aid. Such collaboration was also necessary as a means of mitigating the low human and logistic problems confronting the Board.