Alternative Dispute Resolution and its Implications for Women’s Access to Justice in Africa – Case-Study of Ghana
Western states have sought to globalise and popularise the practice of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a means of promoting access to justice in developing countries. In spite of the popularity of the practice, the issue as to whether and to what extent the benefits of the practice is spread evenly across gender lines with particular reference to Ghana and Africa in general has not been thoroughly examined. Tackling the issue from that angle, the paper contends that the introduction of ADR has no doubt helped women to obtain greater access to some form of justice. However, some of the inherent weaknesses located in the formal justice system remain embedded in the ADR process, thereby hindering women from reaping the full rewards of the ADR mechanism. Therefore, for ADR to promote qualitative justice for African women, the historical and cultural contexts informing gender biases in Africa have to be unearthed and dealt with. The paper concludes by proposing some solutions that may help women realise the maximum benefits in the use of ADR.
Key words: Access to justice; Alternative dispute resolution; Women’s rights
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