Mr. Alex Nartey, National Co-ordinator of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) of the Judicial Service, yesterday launched this year’s Legal Year ADR week at Takoradi in the
The week, which will be celebrated from June 7 -11, is on the theme “Court Connected ADR: Access to justice made simple for all”.
Launching the week, Mr. Nartey said ADR was formally institutionalised as part of the country’s justice delivery system in August 2005 and a week was set aside during each Legal Year to intensify the use of ADR in all District Courts nationwide by giving parties, who have cases pending in the courts the opportunity to have those cases settled through mediation.
He said mediators are assigned to each court to help the parties to resolve cases that have been referred to ADR by Magistrates and Judges.
Mr. Nartey said the week is also used to create public awareness and to educate the citizenry on the use of ADR and also to sensitise stakeholders like Judges, Magistrates, Court Officials and Lawyers.
He said during the week, Registrar Summons Exercise is carried out as a major intervention to identify inactive cases that are pending in the courts.
Mr. Nartey said during the exercise, Registrars of the Courts apply on notice to parties for the striking out of those cases that have been idle for 12 months without any sign of interest by the parties to pursue them.
He said available statistics for 2009 at the National ADR Directorate indicated that a total of 5,358 cases were referred for mediation within magistrate Courts nationwide out of which 3,871 cases were successfully settled, representing a settlement rate of 71 per cent.
Mr. Nartey said the ADR programme of the Judicial Service has been expanded beyond Accra to all the 10 Regions of the country. He said a new Judicial Culture of resolving dispute has emerged and Ghana’s efforts at attracting foreign investors will receive a boost if ADR takes firmer roots and is effectively incorporated into the justice delivery system.
Mr. Nartey said the objectives of the Court Connected ADR are to promote the rule of law and good governance; to reduce time and cost of resolving dispute; ensure effective speedy and efficient delivery of justice; instil public confidence in the justice delivery system; to assist parties to resolve disputes without much acrimony and to preserve relationship and to help reduce backlog of cases pending in the courts.
Mr. Nartey said the major challenge faced by the Court Connected ADR is lack of adequate funding and currently mediators are not well remunerated. He said for this reason, the Judicial Service has to limit the number of cases that Mediators will want to handle because there is no adequate resources to pay for additional work, adding the Court Connected ADR is largely funded by donor partners.