Nkubu Law Courts concluded over 250 matters between February and June 2017, through Alternative Justice System [AJS]. This follows an initiative by Nkubu Law Courts Magistrate Hon Joan Irura in conjunction with the local probation office.
“Alternative Justice System has really reduced case backlog especially of old cases in the court,” said Hon Irura. She added that at the time she was introducing AJS at the court, there were over 700 old cases pending.
AJS is an approach to justice that allows victims and offenders to mediate and come to an agreement that is acceptable to all the parties. This process also involves the community.
Hon Irura’s statement was echoed by Stephen Wambua, the probation officer, Nkubu Law Courts who said that AJS has had an impact in the region with parties’ living harmoniously after being reconciled through mediation.
“The process has led to a huge case backlog reduction”, Said Mr
The court utilized mediation as an alternative justice system where parties agree to settle their matters out of court. Hon Irura however, observed that there was need to sensitize the public on the existence of AJS.
This is in line with Chief Justice David Maraga’s blue print Sustaining Judiciary Transformation which emphasizes cascading of Court Annexed Mediation in all court stations to help clear case backlog.
The Judiciary rolled out the court-annexed mediation pilot program to entrench out-of-court settlement of disputes in May 2016. This was aimed at enhancing access to Justice for all and ensuring speedy resolution of disputes as well as reducing the cost of dispute resolution.
The process, conducted under the umbrella of the court, is in line with Article 159 (2) (c) of the Constitution of Kenya. The Constitution recognizes mediation and encourages it as a form of dispute resolution to be applied by courts. Mediation is intended to enhance access to justice for all, assist in reduction of case backlog and ensure speedy resolution of disputes. It is also intended to create an atmosphere of accommodation and tolerance. The resolutions achieved in AJS are to suit parties’ needs, encourage voluntary compliance of parties with resolutions, restore pre-dispute relationships and increase in foreign investment.