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ADR, Best Way To Decongest Courts   
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The President of the Ghana Association of Certified Mediators and Arbitrators (GACMA), Professor Kofi Quashigah, has singled out alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as the best way to decongest the law courts.

Speaking at the end of a five-day course for 30 participants in ADR, he said the law courts were congested “and if properly understood and applied, ADR will address the congestion we are experiencing in the courts”.

The participants were drawn from the Fisheries Department, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Police Service.

They received certificates of participation after the course.

All the participants were members of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) under the Fisheries Commission.

The course was designed to equip them with skills and knowledge to handle disputes outside the law courts, especially those involving the fisheries sector.

Prof. Quashigah charged the participants to put the skills and knowledge they had acquired to good use by volunteering their services to the local courts or organisations such as FIDA.

He said although that move might come with no financial rewards, the mere thought that they had helped to resolve long-standing dispute should be satisfying.

“That will be your contribution to society and humanity,” he told the participants, adding that the practice of ADR was an integral part of the justice system in the country.

A Director at the Fisheries Commission, Mr Samuel Quartey, announced that Ghana earned over $250 million annually through the export of fish and fisheries products.

He said about 60 per cent of the country’s animal protein requirement was from the fisheries sector, which also contributed to food security, and stressed the need for the resource to be sustainably managed.

He said to address challenges facing the sector, the FEU had been established to enforce the Fisheries Act and fishery regulations.

Mr Quartey told the trained mediators and arbitrators that in 2011, a request was put before the Chief Justice to designate courts for the arbitration or prosecution of those who went against the Fisheries Act.

Delay in justice delivery

He said the challenge was that the circuit courts, where fisheries cases were handled, also dealt with other legal matters, saying that meant that “we have to queue and compete with the normal law courts”.

Mr Quartey explained that since justice delayed was justice denied, “we decided to find an alternative way of getting these cases cleared, so that people will know justice is being carried out”.

He told the participants that in handling cases, they should work within the confines of the law.
Source: Daily Graphic

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