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Judicial Service holds sensitization forum on ADR at Asesewa   
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The Judicial Service has held a sensitization forum on the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for a cross section of the people at Asesewa, in the Upper Manya Krobo District.

Mr Alex Nartey, National ADR Coordinator, said litigation, through the courts, which was the method of dispute resolution bequeathed to Ghanaians by the colonial masters, was adversarial in nature, highly aggressive, confrontational and very divisive.

He observed that parties' main objective was to win the case at all cost, making them adversaries or enemies.

Mr Nartey was of the view that, the trial of disputes in court rooms were characterized by a tense atmosphere, which increasingly become unfriendly, competitive, hostile and acrimonious and in some cases destroying good family relations for generations.

He said before the introduction of litigation in the courts, chiefs, head of families and communal leaders settled disputes peacefully in their palaces by using the traditional method of dispute resolution, which was characterized by the application of unwritten and flexible rules founded on the customs and traditions of that particular community.

"In general, disputes settled by the chief or the family head was invariably accepted by the disputants, who abide by the decision, because of the respect commanded by the chiefs and family heads".

He said over the years, research had shown that litigation had not been able to address the needs of society in managing disputes, since it was characterized by interminable delays.

Mr Nartey said court hearings are public with no privacy, except under certain conditions, thus making people withhold material information which may be crucial to the outcome of the case.

"People value their privacy and this is what the Court-Connected ADR offers to disputants in the court".

He observed that in litigation, judges are bound to apply the strict rules since they are time bound, adding that, most times, court rules do not allow evidence on emotional matters like injure feelings, resentments, anger and shame unless the nature of the case calls for its inclusion.

Mr Nartey said litigation had become costly in both financial and emotional terms to parties and sometimes to their family members.

"The high the cost of litigation remains a threat to effective access to justice since the very poor may not afford the cost unless through the legal aid system.

He said under the ADR, disputes could be settled early and cited as an example, the settlement of 326 cases within one week during the ADR's Week's Celebration.

Mr Nartey said they were also able to strike out about 1,000 cases within that period "something that is not possible in the court system".
Source: GNA

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