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Explore ADR before approaching courts - Larbi

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Dr Janet Ampadu Fofie (left), Chairperson of the Public Services Commission, presenting a certificate to Mr Charles Ntiamoah Amoako, Director Technical Services, Graphic Communications Group Limited and a member of the 23rd cohort of the ADR Institute
Dr Janet Ampadu Fofie (left), Chairperson of the Public Services Commission, presenting a certificate to Mr Charles Ntiamoah Amoako, Director Technical Services, Graphic Communications Group Limited and a member of the 23rd cohort of the ADR Institute

Twenty-nine Master’s students have graduated from the Gamey and Gamey ADR Institute in Accra, with a call on them to uphold the ethics of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The students undertook a 31-week Professional Executive Master of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (PEM ADR) programme.

The graduation certified the participants as ADR practitioners, qualified to provide services as mediators and arbitrators.

The students, the 23rd cohorts of the PEM ADR programme, graduated after being equipped with skills for self-mediation, leadership or managerial mediation, executive mediation and professional mediation, as well as arbitration for various sectors of the economy.

The 24th cohort of students for the 2022 PEM ADR programme were also matriculated at the same ceremony.

Graduation ceremony

At the ceremony, a Justice of the Court of Appeal in charge of the National ADR Programme of the Judiciary, Justice Irene Charity Larbi, underscored the importance of ADR, saying disputing parties should explore alternatives like arbitration, mediation and conciliation before approaching the courts.

She said the recent legislative reforms had extended the use of ADR to cover critical aspects of the legal processes such that the outcome of ADR processes now did not only affect domestic and traditional informal endeavours but also assumed critical equitable and legal interest of disputing parties, including criminal justice.

Justice Larbi noted that the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act (ACT 795), which required — among other things — the resort to ADR in appropriate cases by both disputants and the courts, did not only sanction the practice of mediation and arbitration but also imposed on those who sought to practise ADR an obligation to operate within the dictates of the law.

She urged the graduating class to remember their remit under the ADR Act, and to make it a duty to serve society with the knowledge gained, stressing that it was not enough for one to obtain a certification of ADR practice without knowledge of cases that were not amenable to ADR.

“Section 1 of the ADR Act outs the jurisdiction of Arbitrators, Mediators and Customary Arbitrators established under the Act from resolving matters relating to national or public interest, the environment, enforcement and interpretation of the Constitution or where an enactment provides that any matter cannot be resolved by ADR Resolution method,” she said.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gamey and Gamey Group, Austin A. Gamey, said ADR was the best way to resolve the various disputes bedevilling the country, including the raging issues over the proposed E-Levy, the strike by university teachers, and other simmering problems, especially marital, religious, land and chieftaincy disputes.

“Our courts are overwhelmed with some of these cases, and the earlier we begin the use of well-balanced ADR practitioners who are truly impartial, the better for the nation and the world at large,” he said.

Mr Gamey indicated that with the coming into force of the Labour ACT 2003 (Act 651) and the ADR Act 2010 (Act 798), all educational institutions, organisations and leadership at all levels were expected to go through a process to discover the new creativity and innovation that the law envisaged in building relationships, communications and to learn the art and science of the new interest-based negotiation and the various forms of mediation and arbitration processes.

Nuggets

The President of the 23rd Cohorts of the PEM ADR programme, Nana Essilfuah Tamakloe, said the programme offered the class the exact nuggets of wisdom needed to build a better society.

She said it was exciting to observe that the judicial system was making a shift to encourage parties to seek ADR for resolution under the amendment of CI 47 (High Court Civil Procedure Rules), stressing that this helped to raise awareness about the importance of the ADR mechanism.

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