General News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the best way to resolve the various chieftaincy and land disputes bedevilling the country, an ADR expert, Mr Austin A. Gamey, has stated.
Most of the chieftaincy and land disputes, he said, had travelled up the court ladder without any lasting solution.
“No matter the effectiveness of the court system, it is adversarial because one party will win while the other party will be on the losing side. That is why some of the disputes are even older than those involved,’’ he said.
Mr Gamey was speaking at the 18th graduation ceremony of the Gamey and Gamey ADR Institute in Accra last Saturday.
Nineteen professionals from diverse areas and nationalities graduated with a Professional Master of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (PEM.ADR).
The ceremony was also used to mark the commencement of the 19th session of the programme and to unveil its new ADR areas of specialisation, which are land dispute resolution, banking and finance, contracts and procurement and corporate governance.
The ADR Act, 2010 (Act 789), which encourages mediation and arbitration in mostly civil cases, has become an integral part of the country’s judicial system.
There is an ADR week that is observed by the Judicial Service every November to raise awareness about the importance of the mechanism.
According to Mr Gamey, people and feuding parties ought to take advantage of ADR to avoid the acrimonies that normally characterised chieftaincy and land disputes in the country.
“We have a gem in the area of using a facilitated mediation process administered by an impartial person to bring lots of disputes to an acceptable end,’’ he said.
Mr Gamey said chieftaincy disputes, for instance, had become a menace which constantly threatened to undermine the security and stability of the country.
He said apart from stifling development, they also disrupted the daily activities of ordinary people who had no connection to the dispute.
Due to numerous cases, the land division of the Accra High Court has 12 courts, more than any other division.
Whereas the law court can only resolve such disputes in favour of one party, ADR, Mr Gamey said, could be used to cater for the interests of more than one party.
“For instance with regard to land; based on good negotiations, a mediator can convince parties involved to share the land in dispute and they will live in peace,’’ he said.