KISII, Kenya, Nov 2 – The Court Annexed Mediation, an alternative dispute resolution – ADR – process, has now been rolled out in Kisii County to handle civil cases.
Cases that relate to family, commercial, land, labour and children matters will now be handled through the process that operates under the formal court where parties resolve their disputes with the assistance of a mediator.
Over the last two weeks, the Judiciary has rolled Court Annexed Mediation in Nyeri and Kakamega Counties and plans are in place to offer the service at the Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, Embu, Nakuru, Machakos and Garissa Law Courts.
Justice William Musyoka and Kisii High Court Presiding Judge David Majanja who led the Mediation taskforce in a courtesy call to the Kisii County Governor, James Ongwae, explained the benefits of having civil cases mediated and the need for the court to be rolled out in the County.
Saying that courts in Kisii were handling a large number of land cases involving succession, Judge Majanja noted that some of the matters could be dispensed with through the mediation process.
“We have a backlog of cases and most of them stem from land disputes. Some of these cases are so old that children are born into the disputes complicating resolutions, and if we adopt mediation aggressively, we can address this challenge,” Judge Majanja said.
The Judge explained that the courts will now screen all civil cases and those that are fit for mediation will be handled by mediators who will be paid by the Judiciary so parties will not have to bear any costs.
Governor Ongwae urged Kisii residents to embrace mediation as means of resolving disputes adding that his administration will support the initiative by the Judiciary to ease the backlog of cases in court.
“Our people should embrace this alternative dispute resolution mechanism which is less expensive and a quicker way of solving disputes while creating harmony in the community,” the Governor said.
As part of the rollout, the team will also sensitize various stakeholders who include the public, Judiciary staff, advocates, mediators, county leaders, media, community leaders and members of the Court Users Committee on the initiative.
In Nairobi, where the programme was launched in 2016, over 600 cases have been resolved and about Ksh3 billion released back to the economy through the mediation process.
It is expected that the implementation of Court Annexed Mediation will increase efficiency at the Judiciary and enhance access to justice. Mediation agreements once adopted are enforceable as a court judgment.