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Review of CI.133 will aid in successful resolution of commercial disputes – Justice Mensah-Homiah

Justice-Angelina-Mensah-Homiah-Appeal-Court-Judge-with-oversight-responsibility-for-the-Court-Connected-ADR

An Appeals Court Judge, with oversight responsibility for the Court-Connected ADR (CCADR) program, is advocating for a review of CI.133 to make pre-trial mediation at the commercial courts mandatory.

According to Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah, such a review will further aid in the speedy and successful resolution of most commercial disputes.

She recounted the compulsory nature of mediation at the commercial courts before CI 133 was introduced, explaining that “after the close of pleadings, the case was referred to a pre-trial judge who would bring all the parties around the table and then have the matter settled”.

Review of CI.133 will aid in successful resolution of commercial disputes – Justice Mensah-Homiah
Justice Irene Charity Larbi, Justice of the Court of Appeal and the outgoing judge-in-charge of ADR

She said it afforded them the chance to achieve a high success rate because business people, ordinarily, do not want to wash their dirty linen in public.

“So through mediation, we resolved a lot of commercial disputes which did not come into the public domain. I hope that a second look may be taken at the CI 133 so that the pre-trial mediation at the commercial courts is made mandatory again because it was very effective”, Justice Mensah-Homiah said.

Review of CI.133 will aid in successful resolution of commercial disputes – Justice Mensah-Homiah

She noted that the ADR concept which is not antagonistic like the adversarial system has “complemented the traditional court system in making access to justice cheaper, easier, expeditious, non-adversarial and faster”, as disputes are settled without damaging the existing social or business relations.

She made the remarks at the launch of the 2022 legal year term’s ADR week in Sunyani in the Bono Region on Monday, November 14, 2022.

Review of CI.133 will aid in successful resolution of commercial disputes – Justice Mensah-Homiah
Some members of the Ghana Bar Association in the Bono Region

It was themed, “Improving access to justice in a post-pandemic, through the use of ADR”.

In attendance was Justice Irene Charity Larbi, Justice of the Court of Appeal and the outgoing judge-in-charge of ADR.

The exercise was to afford the ADR directorate of the judicial service the chance to engage and inform the public of the presence of ADR within the court system, its importance, and how to take advantage of the process to seek justice, especially the poor and vulnerable.

It is also a period where pending cases could be resolved during the ADR week under the mass mediation exercise.

Justice Mensah-Homiah revealed that a 41 percent settlement rate was achieved during the last ADR week despite the numerous challenges faced by the mediators; describing it as a positive sign they intend to improve on post-pandemic period.

Review of CI.133 will aid in successful resolution of commercial disputes – Justice Mensah-Homiah
Some Judicial Service staff

She also said the ADR program has been extended to 132 courts with at least 5 mediators assigned to each with regional secretariats, coordinators, and well-trained supporting staff.

“Measures have been taken to further expand the CCADR scope to ensure every Ghanaian everywhere access it, and more importantly, sustain it to achieve the desired impacts”, she said.

She further added that “the ultimate goal is to have ADR offices in all courts, particularly the new courts currently being opened across the country”.

The Court-Connected ADR allows the services of a neutral party to be used to assist in reaching an agreement and avoiding litigation.

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