Status and Contract in an Emerging Democracy: The Evolution of Dispute Resolution in Ghana

Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming

St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-0002

30 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2014 Last revised: 13 May 2014

See all articles by Paul F. Kirgis

Paul F. Kirgis

St. John's University School of Law; University of Montana - Alexander Blewett III School of Law

Date Written: March 6, 2014

Abstract

Ghana is one of the developing world’s success stories. The first sub-Saharan colony to gain independence, it is a stable democracy experiencing sustained economic growth. Yet as Ghana reaches for the material gains of participation in modern commercial life, its dual legal systems — the system of customary adjudication by traditional authorities and the formal court system — have come under increasing pressure. New legal developments have truncated the authority of traditional decision-makers, while an overburdened court system lacks the resources to fill the resulting adjudicative gaps. To solve the problem, Ghana is now experimenting with a system of quasi-public dispute resolution, including contractual arbitration and court-connected mediation. If successful, this experiment could provide a model for other emerging democracies seeking to promote greater access to justice while integrating traditional and national adjudicative structures.

Suggested Citation

Kirgis, Paul F., Status and Contract in an Emerging Democracy: The Evolution of Dispute Resolution in Ghana (March 6, 2014). Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming, St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-0002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2405626

Paul F. Kirgis (Contact Author)

St. John's University School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

University of Montana - Alexander Blewett III School of Law ( email )

Missoula, MT 59812-0002
United States

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