Use Alternative Dispute Resolution - CJ encourages court users
The Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, has encouraged Ghanaians to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve disputes instead of the traditional court processes.
This alternative, she said, would go a long way to avoid the huge debt incurred by parties involved in a dispute.
Also, she said, it was a long process for a case to travel all the way to the High Court, Appeals Court and the Supreme Court, and that to avoid this, court users could adopt the ADR concept to resolve their differences.
The Chief Justice said the court system was time consuming, emotionally draining, and that ADR was the best option to be adopted.
Justice Torkornoo gave the encouragement at the launch of the 2023 / 2024 annual ADR week in Sekondi in the Western Region, last Monday.
The week-long celebration which started last Monday and is expected to end on Friday, is on the theme “building the pillars of justice through ADR”.
The rationale for the ADF week is to allow the ADR Directorate of the Judicial Service to engage the general public to inform the citizenry of the presence of ADR within the court system, its importance in seeking justice and how to take advantage of such an important process for meaningful access to justice, especially for the poor and the vulnerable.
Justice Torkornoo described ADR as non – adversarial and can be negotiated by parties since “ADR through these processes, among others, give understanding, build good relationship and ensures that parties continue to interact even if they disagree”.
“ADR is often described as champion of justice as it is conducted in informal venues which gave parties openness without any prejudice minds’, she added.
She said, the concept was also opened and promoted a sense of ownership and contributed to a robust and resilient justice delivery system, as parties own the dispute and may choose to manage the resolution of the dispute through the ADR process.
According to her, since it inception in 2005, 32,742 cases have been handled through ADR, and therefore urged the general public to have confidence in the system, and that parties should not feel slighted when a judge referred their cases for ADR.
Answering questions from a section of the media and the audience, the Chief Justice said a para legal curriculum was being developed as part of capacity building of mediators.
Justice Torkornoo said the role of the mediators was not to earn money from clients since they were paid by the government for their services and urged parties not to pay anything to mediators.
The Judicial Service Director in – charge of ADR, Justice Angelina Mensah Homiah, expressed regret that cases had piled up at the courts and that the way forward was for parties to adopt ADR and nurture it to the next level.