A Justice at the Court of Appeal in charge of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Justice Irene Charity Larbi, has urged judges to resort to ADR always.
Justice Larbi, therefore, said it was about time Ghanaians deepened their commitment to the cause of justice by resorting to interventions that made access to justice more meaningful than the adversarial system most people were used to.
She said it was for this reason that the Judicial Service adopted ADR to ensure delivery of quality justice was not compromised.
Justice Larbi made the call during the launch of the ADR week in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, last Monday.
This week will be used to create mass public awareness in the country in order to educate the citizenry on the use of ADR.
According to her one important advantage of ADR over conventional litigation was privacy and that the "humiliation a tenant who has committed no crime has to face in coming to open court to plead for time to vacate premises in such a hostile environment is one such example of the downside of conventional litigation".
Advantages of ADR
She said ADR assisted parties to voluntarily comply with agreements with people who design solutions to their own conflicts more satisfied with the outcome than people who the resolution was thrusted upon.
"Another advantage of ADR is that it provides a healthier method for resolving dispute. Parties to conflicts which arise within an ongoing relationship such as families, landlords and tenants, neighbours and business associates appreciate techniques which support the positive maintenance of these relationships and often find that the process itself teaches them new ways to deal with future conflict and new ways to communicate.In family, workplace and business disputes, it is important to preserve future relationships and therefore a procedure which is not disruptive of the national life of the relationship, is preferred to litigation," she added.
Justice Larbi mentioned other advantages of ADR to include the decongestion of the courts thus enabling judges to handle more cases, savings in financial and emotional cost to parties, cutting down of cost, empowerment of the individual, beneficial to lawyers and greater professional satisfaction for lawyers who will like to have a broader set of problem-solving skills than ligation, among others.
She disclosed that from January to December last year, a total of 4,112 cases were mediated out of which 2,075 were settled, representing a 50 per cent settlement rate.
She said this clearly indicated that the ADR mechanism was a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must, therefore, be embraced and nurtured for a quality justice delivery system.