Migori Law Courts litigants march to celebrate the launch of Court Annexed Mediation launch. Photo by Ian Byron, KTMN.

The judiciary has launched annexed mediation program to help reduce the backlog of the court cases in Migori County.

While officiating the official launch of the program at Migori law courts, Justice Oscar Ngote of Lands and Environment court said the program targets succession and land cases.

With the launch of this program, Migori law courts becomes among other 44 court stations where the same program has been launched.

“The aim of this is program to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts because most cases involve relatives or those who have known themselves for a long time,” said Justice Ngote.

The launch of annexed mediation program by judiciary aims at encouraging the members of the public whose cases have taken long in court to refer them to the mediators to fasten the solution of the cases.

Once the cases are tabled, the court then involve accredited mediators who help the complainant and the plaintiff to go about the process of solving the cases.

“We have professional 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 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 can 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 says that the process is cheap and time economical and has been for a long time been applied in many court station.

“This program has been used before in many stations and the success rate is very high and in Migori, the registry has more than 11 cases where this has been applied,” said Ngote.

The official launch of the annexed court program is therefore a boost to the preliminary attempts of peaceful conflict resolution in court.

“We are looking forward to most of the 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 program 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 boost the residents’ access to justice.

“This program as part of our commitment to promote justice in development, will be a boost of the partnership of the county government’s partnership with other sectors of the national government,” said Mahiri.

The deputy governor said that the county government of Migori will lead in creating awareness to the residents, encouraging them to use this program in solving most of their disagreements.

He said that the program 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 program is an indication of the commitment of judiciary to reduce the piling of cases in court.

With the program in practice, the time taken for cases to be solved in court will reduce and so is the number of appeal cases in the Court of Appeal.

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