JUSTICE DELAYED

Mediation Bill will bring justice faster

In Summary

• The Mediation Bill will seek to have all civil suits first referred for arbitration before entering the courts

• The huge backlog of civil cases in court is causing the judiciary to become inefficient

Justice
Justice

A bill in Parliament seeks to ensure that all civil cases are first referred to arbitration before proceeding to the courts (see P8).

The Mediation Bill 2020 would establish a mediation committee to appoint mediators to hear and determine all civil disputes. Courts would be at liberty to refer cases that are already underway and to stay court proceedings.

The legislation is prompted by the vast backlog of civil cases in the courts.

Too often in Kenya, justice is delayed in civil matters by one party filing multiple appeals and actions to deliberately muddle the court. As a result, civil cases drag on for decades with only the lawyers benefiting. Binding mediation would eliminate delaying tactics and allow courts to start hearing genuine cases that have spent years in limbo.

Moreover judges and magistrates sometimes fail to take into account special circumstances. For instance, already loss-making media houses may be hit with libel damages out of proportion to the damage suffered by the plaintiff. Mediation might arrive at a more nuanced settlement.

The Mediation Bill is a great step forward and should be supported by all legislators.

Quote of the day: "Some people try to get you out of slavery for you to be their slave."

Mike Tyson
The  American boxer was born on June 30, 1966