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ADR resolves 36,191 cases in 19 years

The Judicial Service of Ghana, has since 2005, successfully settled 36,191 cases representing 47 percent of the 77,264 mediated cases through its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system.

The Central Regional Office of the ADR handled a total of 1,665 cases in 2023 with 534 of the cases, representing 32 percent, settled.

In all, the region has 17 ADR connected courts consisting of two circuit courts, and 15 district courts.

Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah, Justice of the Court of Appeal, announced this at an ADR sensitisation durbar at the Jubilee Park in Cape Coast.

The durbar is a prelude to the ADR Week’s mass mediation exercise slated from Monday, March 18 to Friday, March 22 across the country.

It is being held on the theme: ‘Building the Pillars of Justice through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).’

The ADR Week sensitization train took off from Accra on Monday, February 26 and made the first stop at Kasoa, continued to Ofankor, Awutu, Winneba, Apam, Ajumako, Mankessim, Saltpond, Elmina and
now Cape Coast.

Generally, the celebration affords the ADR Directorate of the Judicial Service, the opportunity to announce to the public, the presence of ADR within the court system and communities for them to take advantage of it.

The ADR process had created space and the necessary environment for people, particularly the poor and vulnerable to meaningfully access justice.

Justice Mensah-Homiah, said the ADR concept had served as a complement to the traditional courts, substantially due to the mass mediation exercise.

During ADR Week, parties who have cases pending in courts connected to the ADR programme would be provided the opportunity to have their cases settled through mediation.

‘Mediators are assigned to each court to help parties resolve cases that have been referred to ADR by Judges and Magistrates.’

Justice Mensah-Homiah urged court users to take advantage of these process to ensure expeditious disposal of cases pending in courts across the country.

‘After 19 years of implementing the conne
cted ADR programme, it has demonstrated verifiable success.

‘It’s our expectation that ADR becomes not just a complement to the justice delivery architecture, but a major plank, which would be the go-to option for those seeking justice as long as the nature of the cases admit ADR,’ Justice Mensah-Homiah assured.

However, she cautioned some few bad nuts in the justice delivery system who sometimes sidestep their ethical and legal mandates to engage in misdeeds for their personal interest to stop it.

She encouraged all disputants and the public to report such unprincipled mediators to the ADR Directorate or Complaints Units of the Judicial Service for the appropriate action to be taken.

She revealed that mediators were paid allowances by the Judicial Service from the public purse, consequently, they were not to receive any payments, whether in cash or in kind from disputants.

‘Mediators are precluded from going for ‘locus Inspection,’ they cannot also write rulings on the merits of a case. These are the pr
eserve of trial Judges and Magistrates.’

A mediator, she indicated, lacked any power to re-examine a decision upon the execution of the terms of settlement.

‘It is not the duty of mediators to police parties to a dispute to ensure compliance. I’m bringing this out so that unsuspecting disputants do not fall to any unscrupulous mediator,’ Justice Mensah-Homiah said.

Justice Kofi Akrowia, a Supervising High Court Judge, attributed the challenges with delivery of justice in Ghana to inadequate number of courts, Judges and Magistrates and automation in courts.

He urged the Government to facilitate the work of the Judiciary by providing more funds and on time to ease justice delivery in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency