Ghana Legal Aid Scheme improves on arbitration of cases

The Ghana Legal Aid Scheme has in 2010 resolved 1,952 cases out of 2,671 disputes and complaints filed at the Community Mediation Centres set up under its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The improved performance saw 552 of the cases referred to the courts while 109 cases were pending in the same period as compared to 2,308 cases reported in 2009 out of which 940 cases were resolved, 684 taken to the courts and the remaining 684 pending.

Mr Al-hassan Yayaha Seini, Director of the Legal Aid Scheme told the Ghana News Agency in an interview 0n Thursday in Accra that the Community Mediation Centres (CMC’s) were established in 2006 with financial support from the UNDP.

Each regional office of the Scheme is manned by personnel trained in ADR with special emphasis on community mediation.

The Director said in 2007, 18 CMCs were established and they handled 802 complaints out of which 447 of the cases were resolved through mediation, 230 cases transferred to the courts with 125 cases pending.

In 2008, the number of CMCs was increased to 26 and they recorded 1,376 cases made up 562 males and 814 females.

Mr Seini said that the Legal Aid Scheme is committed to providing efficient and effective legal aid service for the enforcement of the constitution and for the prosecution and defence of the human and legal rights of the poor and the needy.

“The Scheme is expected to protect and defend the rights of the low, poor, indigent and vulnerable in the society against infractions by the high, rich, resourceful and powerful with the State undoubtedly the highest, richest, most resource laden and most powerful person in Ghana,” he noted.

Mr Seini said with the obvious difficulty of manning the regional offices, with inadequate equipment and infrastructure and just a few personnel made up of eleven lawyers handling cases in the regional offices, the Upper East and Upper West Regions are without any lawyer under the Scheme for the people to access legal aid.

He said the rural poor in the Districts still depend on the regional offices of the Scheme in search of justice, especially where there are no courts.

“The only programme for training of staff has been the training of national service personnel in Alternative Dispute Resolution for the operation of the CMCs,” Mr Seini said.

Source: GNA

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