Ghana has no ADR Centre – Deputy AG

Accra- Nearly 10 years after passage of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 201, Act 798, Ghana is yet to set up an Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre.

Government has however started discussions with some lawyers at establishing an ADR Centre for settling of disputes through ADR in the future.

Mr Godfred Yebua Dame, Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice said this on Monday at opening of a two-week training programme dubbed; Promotion of Rule of Law and Judiciary in Africa, held in Accra for 100 lawyers selected across the Ghana.

The programme was held by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and GIZ, a German technical cooperation as part of continuous legal education for lawyers in the country.

Mr Dame noted that the current arbitration centre was still currently owned and run by a private entity, even though the ADR Act required the state to establish her own arbitration centre.

ADR Act was enacted to provide for the settlement of disputes by arbitration, mediation, and customary arbitration.

According to the Deputy Minister, the state has a direct obligation to set up an arbitration centre, which would be responsible for settlement of disputes through arbitration, medication, and other voluntary dispute resolution procedures among others.

It is a sad testament for commercial dispute resolution, that up-to-date, this provision has been unfulfilled since almost a decade of the enactment of the ADR Act.

The Deputy AG and Minister of Justice noted that the failure to satisfy this mandatory provision in the ADR Act 798 presented a serious problem of conflict resolution in the country.

Some of the practical problems presented by the absence of the ADR Centre are the fact that there is a regular reference in the Act to the Centre as a forum for resolution of disputes in various arbitration agreements when the centre is not yet in existence.

An even greater difficulty is posed by the continued reference to the centre in statutes, when it has not been established.

Mr Dame said gravity of such challenges came to the fore recently, when a couple of cases decided by the High Court in which the courts were handicapped by the absence of an ADR Centre.

Mr Dame, said existence of the ADR Centre would propel Ghana into an arbitration hub on the continent.

The solid democratic credential wielded by this country, and the quality of her legal system will position her as the jurisdiction of choice that is commercially focused and non-partisan for conflicts in businesses, he said.

According to him, a robust legal system, underpinned by the rule of law, went hand-in-hand with economic prosperity.

A justice system that guaranteed all aspect of the rule of law produced a business operating environment characterised by transparency, certainty and fairness, the Deputy AG said.

Thus, he said, the need to strengthen commercial law and justice must sit right at the top of the country’s development agenda.

Source: Ghana News Agency