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Judicial reforms changing the face of Kenyan courts

Kenyan courts have changed for the better, becoming friendlier in the recent years, thanks to the ongoing judicial reforms.

Consequently, the initial inherent fear of local courts by the citizenry is gradually waning, while lawyers have also conceded that high sounding legal arguments no longer add value to the country’s justice system, because what is actually required is the plain truth to enable prompt dispute resolutions.

In an interview with KNA, Nakuru Senior Resident Magistrate Rose Ombata said unlike the tense feelings which prevailed in the previous court proceedings, the current judicial system offers a relaxed and friendly environment where nobody feels threatened.

Ombata noted that this positive change has aided in faster delivery of court cases, unlike in the past when advocates spent so much of their time arguing over simple issues like use of right and wrong tenses, hence wasting their client’s valuable time.

The magistrate noted that moving forward, the judiciary might even consider serving soft drinks to their clients as the hearing proceeded so as to make them feel more appreciated like any other customer.

On his part, George Mbui, an advocate of the High Court practicing in Nakuru County echoed the same sentiments saying that nowadays there was a good working relationship between lawyers and the judiciary staff, which has enabled quicker administration of justice.

Mbui said in the past advocates hardly told their clients the truth, but today they explain to their clients when they realize that their dispute cannot stand the test of time or be won in a court of law.

He noted that arising from his long experience in legal practice, most of disputes in Kenyans courts are actually about a person feeling disrespected by family or community members, as well as former friends and all that they are yearning for is an apology, which can easily be granted outside court.

In essence, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) remains the best system of resolving family conflicts, especially inheritance issues, where some members feel more entitled than others and the advocates simply need to remind such people is that they aren’t even the bona fide owners of the property in the first place.

The real owner, who actually worked hard and sweated for it is dead, however, he/ she was magnanimous enough to leave something for his children, otherwise, they had every legal right to dispose it off without any dispute. Thus, since it’s a free gift let family members who tussle over property they never worked for at least be civil, added Mbui.

By Veronica Bosibori

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