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National service week to resolve succession cases

Bungoma High Court judges Justice Stephen Riechi and Justice David Kemei on Monday both successfully presided over the beginning of the national family service week at Bungoma Law Courts.

The service week initiated by Chief Justice Martha Koome targets all succession cases pending in the High Court and the Magistrate’s Courts across the republic.

During the service week, contentious matters that have been pending for a long time will be concluded or referred to Court Annexed Mediation which is an alternative dispute resolution channel mandated by the court and paid for by the judiciary.

“Once an agreement is reached at the Annexed Mediation, it is filed in court and adopted as a judgment of the court,” said Riechi.

“Court Annexed Mediation is especially suitable to resolving family disputes as opposed to the traditional adversarial settlement where there is one winner and a loser,” added Kemei.

According to Kemei, the Magistrate’s Court at Bungoma has identified 451 cases out of which 36 cases have already been screened for mediation.

Speaking to the press, Riechi said that the Principal Magistrates Court at Webuye has identified 210 cases; Kimilili 30 cases with one being referred to mediation while the Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court at Sirisia has identified 56 cases which bring the total number of cases to be handled in the county to 738 cases.

According to the records at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Bungoma, the oldest pending succession case was filed in the year 1997 some 27 years ago.

According to the law, succession is only legal when it is accompanied by the area chief’s letter, a death certificate of the deceased, certified copies of National Identity cards of Petitioner, search of Deceased’s property and consent to the making of grant which is known as Form 38.

“Succession costs Sh2000 as fees and Sh3480for publication in the Kenya Gazette,” said Riechi.

Riechi also urged the residents of Bungoma County to make sure they propose a mode of distribution of their land before death by either making a will or use of clan members for arbitration.

By Mwangi Oliver


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