The Judiciary has launched a court annexed mediation programme at Migori Law courts to help reduce the backlog of cases in Migori County.
This brings to 44 Court stations where such a programme is dispensed across the country.
While officiating the official launch of the programme at Migori law courts, Justice Oscar Ngote of Lands and Environment court said the programme targets mostly succession and land cases.
“This programme aims at reducing the heavy backlog of cases in courts because most of these cases involve relatives or those who have known each other for a long period of time,” said Justice Ngote.
It is focusing seriously on encouraging members of the public whose cases have taken long in court to refer them to the mediators to hasten the solution of the cases.
Once the cases are tabled, the court then involves accredited mediators who help complainants and plaintiffs to go about the process of solving the cases.
“We have professionals and accredited mediators who will be helping the members of the public to amicably solve their cases, but that is a process that must be initiated by the two parties,” he added.
Mediation is a process of conflict resolution that involves a third neutral party who helps the antagonizing parties to peacefully solve a dispute.
While mediation could be applied both in court and outside court, the annexed mediation process involves those with understanding of the law and certified to help disputing parties solve their disagreement.
Once the mediator is done with the case, it is referred back to the court for the adoption of the binding agreement and at this stage documentation takes place.
Justice Ngeto noted that the process is cheap, timely and economical and has been for a long time been applied in many court stations across the nation.
“This programme has been used before in many stations and the success rate is very high,” he noted.
In Migori, the registry has more than 11 cases to be dispensed under the program and a boost to the preliminary attempts of peaceful conflict resolution in court.
“We are looking forward to see most of litigants who are in our court referring their cases to mediators so that we can have less than a month of finalizing a matter,” said the Judge.
The annexed court program is an application of Article 159 of the Constitution that mandates the Judiciary to promote alternative justice system.
The programme is also in line with the vision of judiciary to promote social transformation through access to justice.
Apart from sexual offences, the annexed mediation process can be used to handle all succession, land and other criminal offences.
Migori Deputy Governor Dr. Joseph Mahiri said that the program which is part of their commitment as a county will promote access to justice by members of the public.
“This programme stands to the partnership between the county government with other sectors of the national government,” said Mahiri.
He assured that Migori County government would lead in creating awareness to the residents and encouraged them to use this program in solving most of their disagreements.
The programme will be an advantage to the county government especially in disagreements with the public on land and property.
As part of access to justice, the annexed mediation programme is an indication of the commitment of Judiciary to reduce the piling of cases in court, he said.
With the programme in practice, the time taken for cases to be solved in court will reduce and so would the number of appeal cases in the Court of Appeal.
By Polycarp Ochieng and George Agimba