A section of the public is calling for more education on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to enable many people take advantage of it for a quicker and amicable settlement of disputes and also to decongest the courts of pending cases.
The call was made in Sunyani during the national launch of ADR Week held on the theme, “Making Our Courts More Service Friendly, Through The Use of ADR.”
The ADR week is organized annually by the Judicial Service to create awareness on the need for people to resort to ADR in their quest to seek justice.
Contributing to a discussion on ADR during the launch, some members of the public said they usually head to the courts mainly because of their lack of knowledge and understanding of how ADR works and what steps to take to take advantage of it.
They also complained about the absence of basic items at the Sunyani High Court such as receipts and other stationery to serve the public thereby impeding the smooth administration of justice, especially with regards to filing of cases.
Launching the week, an Appeals Court Judge, Her Ladyship Justice Irene Charity Larbi added her voice to the call by the public to resort to the use of ADR since it affords parties to pour out their emotions and also touch on sensitive issues which otherwise might not be delved into in the traditional court.
She said the ADR programme has been extended to 131 courts across the nation with at least five Mediators assigned to each of these courts, adding that “regional ADR secretariats staffed with a Regional ADR Co-ordinator and staff have been established in all the ten regions.”
Her Ladyship Justice Irene Charity Larbi, who is also the Judge-in-Charge of ADR, said a total of 635 mediators have been trained and assigned to the 131 courts connected to the ADR programme.
“From January to December, 2018 a total of 4,148 cases were mediated out of which 2,122 cases were settled, represented a 51% settlement rate”, she stated.
She added that, “the ADR concept has served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster for the citizenry.”
“This has also helped in reducing the backlog of cases in the Courts substantially due to the mass mediation exercise. This clearly indicates that the ADR mechanism is a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must therefore, be embraced and nurtured for a quality justice delivery system.”