The Court Connected Alternative Dispute Resolution (CCADR) programme is critical to improving access to the country’s justice delivery system, Mrs Angelina Mensah-Homiah, an Appeal Court Judge with oversight responsibility of ADR has said.
She explained that if stakeholders knew the legal mandate of ADR and its administrative process, it would help boost the process, adding, it was, therefore, essential for stakeholders to appreciate the importance of the provisions in sections 72 and 73 of the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459), which provided for the use of ADR in the Courts.
Mrs Mensah-Homiah was addressing stakeholders at the national launch of the ADR Week programme in Sunyani.
This November ADR Week programme is on the theme, “Improving Access to Justice in a Post-Pandemic, Through the Use of ADR.”
The rationale for the Week is to allow the ADR Directorate of the Judicial Service to engage the public to inform the citizenry of the presence of ADR within the court system, its importance and how to take advantage of such a process for impactful access to justice.
Mrs Mensah-Homiah said during the last ADR Week programme, a 41 per cent settlement rate was achieved through its ”Mass Mediation Exercise (MME),’’ saying court users with long-time pending cases who accepted to use the MME during that week had their cases resolved at a sitting or two.
This, she described as “a positive sign,” indicating their intention to achieve a higher settlement rate in this post-pandemic period and, therefore, commended the Judicial Service for working hard to sustain and expand the programme for accelerated access to justice.
Mrs Mensah-Homiah said the CCADR was effective and guaranteed the interest of both parties involved in every aspect of the process, allowing for smaller sessions and limited participation of the parties.
She said currently, the programme had been extended to 132 courts with 635 mediators trained and at least five mediators assigned to each of these courts connected to the ADR programme.
She said measures were being taken to further expand the CCADR scope to ensure every Ghanaian nationwide would have access to the system and more importantly sustain it to achieve the desired impact.
She explained the ADR concept served as a complement to the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious and non-adversarial while helping to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts substantially due to MME.
Mrs Mensah-Homiah added it was a reliable partner to the traditional justice delivery system and must be embraced and nurtured for quality justice delivery.
On her part, Mrs Irene Charity Larbi, also an Appeal Court Judge who is the outgoing Judge-in-charge of ADR, called for more support for the ADR mechanism.
She also urged the Ghana Bar Association to educate their clients to choose between the ADR and the traditional courts for case hearings and settlement.