Mr Charles Adjei Wilson, the Bolgatanga Supervising High Court Judge has advised Ghanaians to employ the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism in seeking justice and legal redress.
The High Court Judge explained that ADR encompassed methods of settling legal disagreement outside of the courtroom. “There are several methods of ADR including; conciliation, negotiation, neutral evaluation, mediation and arbitration”, he added.
The High Court Judge who is also a Military Judge Advocate, made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga.
He said when people employ the ADR system to solve issues, it eased overreliance on the traditional court systems and reduced the pressure on the courts.
He stated that although there were some disagreements that required the decision of a judge in court to settle, there were other matters which could be settled without resorting to the courtroom by using ADR systems.
He stated that legal disagreements were part of everyday life and could be related to the individual or business.
He said issues relating to family matters like property and divorce, neighborhood disputes such as civil conflicts, landlord and tenant matters, personal injury, partnerships, property and land use, employment and debts and loans could be addressed using ADR method.
The High Court Judge stressed on the many advantages of the ADRM in conflict management and resolution and cited for instance that it was generally more cost-effective than litigation, as the methods involved were less formal and time-consuming.
He said unlike court cases which were held in public, ADR remained confidential which he noted could be beneficial for personal and business reasons.
“Court cases often require both parties to be available at an assigned time and date. ADR can be more easily scheduled for all parties involved. Again, as mediation involves more engagement from both parties, autonomy can be maintained, and creative solutions can be reached”, he stressed.
He cited instances where the ADR methods had been used to address many issues in Ghana and mentioned that there was a land litigation case in Accra that travelled 10 years in court but took just few months to be settled through the ADR system.
The High Court Judge, who stated that ADR system improved relationship outcomes, explained that taking people to court often strained relationships between the two parties but ADR methods tended to be more cooperative and less intense than litigation, making the two parties have a better chance of maintaining their relationship.