Litigants across the country have been advised to resort to the court-connected Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) means of resolving cases.
This is because it is by far easier, faster and less expensive than seeking arbitration in the traditional courts.
A justice of the Appeal Court who is in charge of ADR, Mrs Justice Irene Charity Larbi, gave the advice when she addressed a section of the media and relevant stakeholders at the launch of ADR Week in Ho last Monday.
She also said it was possible to settle a dispute on the ADR platform within 30 days, as against several undetermined periods at the traditional courts. Furthermore, she said decisions are mutually agreed upon, unlike in the courts where decisions rest solely on judges or magistrates.
She disclosed that 1,372 cases were mediated, out of which 605 were settled last year, adding that the ADR concept had helped to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts due to the mass mediation exercise throughout the country.
According to her, the ADR programme had been extended to 13 circuit and 54 district courts across the nation, with at least three mediators assigned to each of the courts, bringing the total number of courts involved in the implementation of the ADR programme to 67, with 435 mediators assigned to each of the courts.
“The ADR concept has served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, faster, easier, more expeditious and non-adversarial to the citizen,” she said, adding that it clearly indicated that the ADR mechanism was a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must, therefore, be embraced and nurtured for an efficient justice delivery system.
The ADR Week is observed each Legal Year, during which parties who have cases pending in courts that are connected to the ADR programme are given the opportunity to have their cases settled through mediation.
The week is also used to create mass public awareness in order to educate the citizenry on the use of ADR. Stakeholders, including judges, court officials and lawyers, are also sensitised to the ADR platform.