National Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
National Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The National Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been able to settle 50 per cent of cases that was reported to it from 2007 to 2018.

In the period under review, a total of 21,215 out of the 42,057 cases presented were resolved, representing 50 per cent; Mr Alex Nartey, the National Coordinator disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in Accra in an interview on Monday.

Popular among the cases brought before it was land related, land-lord tenant disagreement, debt recovery, child maintenance, divorce as well as minor criminal cases such as assault and disturbing public peace.

Mr Nartey said from January to December 2018, out of the 4,112 cases put before it, 2,075 were dealt with, meaning, people were embracing the ADR instead of the normal litigation.

Compared to that of the 2017, which was 3,486, a sum of 1,571, representing 45 percent were disposed of, he explained.

He said, the system got to its peak in 2013 when 6,668 cases were recorded, but 42 per cent were resolved, an equivalent of 2,806.

Throughout the 12 years of its existence, the best three years of the Programme was between 2007 and 2009, he stressed.

He said 2009 was the year that saw the most settled cases of 72 per cent of 5,358 referred cases followed by 2008 with 57 per cent and 3,871 resolved in 2007, representing 53 per cent.

The National ADR Coordinator emphasised that the court could not dispose off a number of cases compared to ADR due to the complex and difficult nature.

He said since conflict resolution was difficult, it required commitment and hard work by all, especially, government and therefore appealed to government among other stakeholders to help deal with the resource constraints in order to boost the morale of judges and mediators to settle more cases.

Currently, he said, ADR had 127 courts dotted across the country and called on Ghanaians to use it as it was the cheapest alternative.

Juxtaposing ADR and the court, Mr Nartey noted that unlike the court, disputing parties were served free of charge and they only had to pay for the filing fee.

Again, he attributed the success of the ADR to the fact that the traditional court system was procedurally and technically cumbersome as the ADR was less technical, adding that, it adopted an informal approach in engaging the disputing parties to broker a mutually acceptable resolution to the dispute.

Mr Nartey said, it focused on the party’s interest not on their positions that delayed expeditious trial.

Litigation is fast becoming unpopular due to a general negative perception of the public regarding the judicial processes in the country coupled with its slow, expensive and cumbersome nature.
Based on this, the ADR was initiated in 2007 of a comprehensive reform programme of the Judicial Service of Ghana to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts.

He said ADR also led to significant reduction of time spent in trying cases and introduced policies and processes that made justice more accessible to the poor and vulnerable in society.

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