General News of Monday, 13 March 2017
The introduction of the Court Connected Alternative Dispute Resolution (CCADR) by the Judicial Service of Ghana has served the country’s courts well as it has reduced immensely the number of land dispute cases accumulated over the years.
The process which is relatively faster and affordable compared to the litigation process which is time consuming and expensive has offered disputants a better avenue in getting their land issues settled and in a rather amiable environment. A total number of 605 cases out of the 1,373 mediated cases were settled last year representing 44% settlement rate.
Speaking to the National Coordinator of ADR, Alex Nartey, he indicated that the ADR has 30 trained land surveyors whose role it is to mediate cases referred by land court judges to ADR. The program also has trained 295 mediators who have been assigned to 67 district and circuit courts nationwide with at least 3 mediators assigned to each court.
“Land cases are amenable to ADR except those that entail crime, if you have a land case, the first thing you have to do is to find out if there’s an alternative way of resolving the dispute, it is when you do not have that option that you should remain in the core system and litigate”, he said.
The procedure which has been incorporated in the court aggregation process embraces the views as well as recognizes the interests of parties involved. ADR gives an opportunity to persons who failed to reach consensus after the first try to have a relook at the case when another request by the parties is filed until judgement is declared.
Land disputes have been on the rise in Ghana, with many generating into deadly clashes between parties involved. Litigation has been the prevalent procedure persons involved in land related clashes adopted to seek redress, the process which is slow eventually resulted in backlog of cases involving land disputes.
Mr. Nartey stated that the ADR has since its inception helped reduce the situation massively as people are gradually opting for the procedure maintaining however that criminal offences and cases involving abuse cannot be resolved with ADR.
“Land cases are amenable to ADR except those that entail crime, if you have a land case, the first thing you have to do is to find out if there’s an alternative way of resolving the dispute, it is when you do not have that option that you should remain in the core system and litigate”
He urged the public to opt for the process as a first alternative in seeking redress in conflict situations especially land related disputes since the process is very efficient adding however that parties need to be realistic in the presentation of issues before court to ensure maximum results since biases may affect the outcome of the process.