In an effort to improve Access to Justice in Liberia, the Ministry of Justice with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Carter Center has ended two days Regional National Stakeholders Consultation on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Liberia.
The forum, which was held at the Administrative Building in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County, brought together stakeholders from Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpulu Counties, western Liberia. Assistant Justice Minister for Codification, Abraham Mitchell, said the vision of the ADR is to lead dispute resolution in Liberia through ADR and to legislate, legitimize and nationally integrate ADR as a co-equal component.
He said it will also encourage an ADR inter-agency steering committee, under the Ministry of Justice that will encompass all relevant actors, including both state and non-state actors to serve as the ADR national coordination hub.
He said in crafting the document, they consulted several legal instruments including the 1986 Constitution and its legal imperatives, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Pro-Poor Agenda, and The National Security Strategy (NSSRL-2008) Title 7: Chapter 7 of the Liberian Code of Laws, Revised Commercial Code – Commercial Arbitration, October 7, 2010.
Asst. Minster Mitchell also said the Land Commission Act (LC) and 1.7 of the Act Establishing the Land Rights Law, 2018, the Local Government Act of September 19, 2018. The INHRC, Children’s Law, and the Civil Procedural Law, respectively were also consulted.
He noted that one of the root causes for the Liberian Civil War was the problem of access to justice for the poor, disadvantaged, and vulnerable sections of the population, indicating that at the end of the conflict and the challenge to improve affordable access to justice for all and the formal justice system (court room litigation) still pose challenges.
Minister Mitchell added that following the nation-wide consultation, a law would be enacted on ADR to make it binding as the statutory justice system for the country that will determine type of cases to be heard in court.
Commending Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean for his political will in supporting the ADR program, Mitchell stressed that the ADR program supports the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development specially, Pillar III relative to sustaining peace, security and rule of law.
He said the goals are to improve access to justice for all, help reduce court docket and case backlogs, reduce pretrial detention and institute ADR as a key component of Liberia’s justice system. Editing by Jonathan Browne