The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) initiated by the Judiciary has seen a reduction of court time from three years to just approximately 60 days. A review seen by the Business Daily shows that 243 cases worth KES 3.8 billion were resolved within 66 days between October 2018 and January 2019.
The impact of the initiative is that businesses and individuals are now having a short less costly process hence enhancing the ease of doing business in the Kenya. Businesses are now saving on lawyer appearance fees and would focus on other issues affecting a company when the case is settled fast. The normal litigation process would take up to three years and sometimes even longer before a case reached settlement.
The review report showed that there were 329, 928 backlog case as at June 2018 with 45 percent of them having been in court for three years or more. Most of the cases were in the High court and the magistrates’ courts. Between September 2018 and January 2019, litigants submitted 1,121 cases to the ADR, all valued at about KES 21.8 billion.
How Alternative Dispute Resolution works in Kenya
ADR initiative has 450 judiciary accredited mediators spread across Kenya.
- A litigant files a case
- A deputy registrar reviews the case and when deemed appropriate refers it to a mediator
- Litigants are notified to appear before a mediator
- Mediators work to find a reasonable resolution between the parties involved
- When parties arrive at an agreement, mediator draws written settlement and forwards it to the court
- Court ratifies the agreement and closes the case
- In case the litigants do not agree, normal court process takes over
- The cost of appearing before the mediator are borne by the judiciary
Apart from the commercial courts, ADR initiative is now spread over to the other units such as the family court, environment and land court, and the civil court.