Arbitration resolves Sh451m commercial cases in ten months

The Court Annexed Mediation Process (Camp) has resolved disputes worth a total value of Sh451 million within the 10 months it has been operational.

It is part of the Judiciary’s plan to clear a backlog of disputes that have dragged on for years.

The Judiciary last year referred a total of 139 cases in the Commercial Division of the High Court with a value of Sh4 billion to arbitration as it looks for alternatives to help reduce the number of active cases while helping litigants resolve disputes without having to step into a courtroom. A total of 113 cases from the Family Division have been transferred to arbitration, with 41 being concluded within the 10 months the programme has been in place.

The Camp is part of the Judiciary’s performance improvement programme.

“In the Commercial Division, 930 cases files have been screened with 139 referred for mediation all with a total value of Sh4 billion in dispute. Of the total referred for mediation, the division has concluded 25 cases files with 14 of them reaching settlement agreement whose total value is Sh451 million,” said Elizabeth Tanui, the mediation deputy registrar.

“Mediation has the potential to address complex cases, including those involving firms and once agreement is reached it is not subject to appeal. It is a solution by you for you. The agreements once adopted by both parties are enforceable as judgement /order of court. If parties fail to reach a settlement, the matter reverts back to the normal court process,” she added.

The Court of Appeal meanwhile has determined 1,420 cases filed in the 2014-2015 financial year. The resolution of the suits has left the Appellate Court with 155 pending suits. Civil and criminal cases carry the bulk of suits handled by the Appellate Court, which says it is revising its rules to ensure faster determination of disputes.

The Judiciary says the Court of Appeal now has a 90 per cent case clearance rate. The Court of Appeal has stations in Nairobi, Kisumu, Malindi, Nyeri with sub-registries in Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisii, Mombasa, Bungoma, Busia and Meru, where circuit courts are in operation. The Judiciary has also announced a partnership with the World Bank that will see it source for $86.4 million (Sh88.9 billion) to improve court processes through the Judiciary Performance Improvement Programme (JPIP).

The World Bank’s JPIP will emphasize on the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT), and anti-corruption initiatives to help refine court proceedings and increase integrity.

“The project still requires to efficiently and prudently use about $3.6m per month if the allocated funds are to be used before the end of the project period slated for December 2018.”

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