Justice Sir Dennis Adjei, a Court of Appeal Judge has called for the evaluation of Ghana’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Act to ensure that the law remains relevant to modern ADR practice.
He said an evaluation of ADR Act 2010, Act 798, after 10 years of its passage would provide an effective assessment of the impact of the Act, and also enable stakeholders to take measures to ensure that the Act was effectively responsive to the needs of professional ADR practice.
“Ten years of the ADR Act 2010, Act 798 is an opportune time for ADR practitioners and stakeholders to properly evaluate the successes the Act has chalked, as well as its failures,” he said.
Justice Sir Adjei, made the call at the joint graduation and matriculation of the Gamey and Gamey ADR Institute in Accra, where its 21st Cohort of 11 trainees graduated in Professional Executive Master of ADR, while 30 fresh students were matriculated.
It had the theme, “ADR: a vital tool for justice delivery and national cohesion,”
Representing the Chief Justice, Justice Adjei, who is also the Dean of the GIMPA Law Faculty, acknowledged the importance of ADR practice in Ghana, and encouraged Ghanaians to adopt ADR to resolve their disputes.
He noted that the adversarial court litigation system remained inimical to efforts for reconciliation and relationship building, making it critical for disputants to use ADR mechanisms to settle issues.
“A careful examination of the words used in sections 73 and 74 of the Courts Act, admit that the adversarial system practised in the courts do not promote reconciliation as a person won or lost a case.
“And therefore, the courts are to encourage the resolution of cases through reconciliation, which is the court-connected ADR,” he said.
“Encouraging Ghanaians to adopt ADR, he said “resolution of disputes outside the trial process helped to promote business, family and community relationships, national unity and cohesion.”
Justice Adjei congratulated the graduating class for the achievement, and urged them to practise with utmost integrity and professionalism to build public confidence in the ADR profession in Ghana.
Mr Austin Gamey, Chief Executive Officer of Gamey & Gamey Group, in his welcome address, said the Institute had trained over 500 ADR practitioners from diverse professional fields including; engineering, law, accounting, human resource management, labour unionism, banking and finance, media, medicine, construction, security and traditional leadership among others.
“We have built a network of professionals with rich experience desirous of practising ADR.
“Our effort is aimed at harnessing these potentials which have been enriched by the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills in ADR,” he said.
He appealed to the Chief Justice to encourage the courts to refer divorce cases to mediation, adding that mediation could save many troubled marriages.
“I appeal to the Chief Justice to permit our professionals to use mediation to assist the courts to resolve some of the divorce cases in order to restore the sanctity of marriage,” he said.
He also urged stakeholders in Ghana’s electoral system to consider referring electoral disputes to mediation for amicable resolution in the quest to sustain national peace and cohesion.