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Draft policy of case mediation ready-Muturi

A draft policy to entrench alternative dispute resolution in the country’s judicial system has been approved by the Cabinet and will be enacted into law soon, Attorney General Justin Muturi has said.

Muturi said the government was fully behind the drive to have litigants shun the court process in favour of mediation, which is meant to help courts clear case backlogs while helping the parties save a lot in litigation costs and time.

He said his office will be encouraging those in disputes with the government to go for mediation rather than prosecute their grievances in court, saying that court processes waste time and public resources.

Mr Muturi was the guest of honour during the Court Annexed Mediation Open Day in Embu yesterday, where the public were advised to choose mediation, which has many economic and social benefits compared to court litigation, which leaves litigants with less of their resources and breeds bitterness.

Other speakers included Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Fred Ochieng, a member of the National Steering Committee on Alternative Justice Systems, Moris Kimuli, Embu Deputy Governor Justus Kinyua Mugo, Embu Senator Alexander Mundigi, and Manyatta MP Gitonga Mukunji.

Justice Ochieng said that when parties are given a chance to arrive at their own justice, they make better decisions because they know the underlying reasons for a dispute.

He added that most of the time court decisions create a new round of hostilities; hence, parties need to be helped find their own amicable settlements to disputes.

He said mediation can happen even after a High Court decision and when the case is in the Court of Appeal.

Urging lawyers to support the mediation drive, Justice Ochieng said he was aware that mediation posed an ethical dilemma for lawyers who stood to lose their fees when cases were removed from courts and ended quickly through mediation, but said they should see mediation as another way of earning a living.

“You can represent your clients in the morning and hold mediation sessions in the afternoon,” Justice Ochieng said.

Mr. Kimuli said many cases that ended up in court were no more than ego trips where some litigants despised their rivals.

By Steve gatheru

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