July 19, 2022
The Centre and The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Sign an MoU to Promote Mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism
October 7, 2022


The NCIA Board recently paid a courtesy call to the Honorable Chief Justice Martha Koome at her offices based at the supreme court building. During the meeting held on 24th June 2022 the Board was received by the Chief Justice who welcomed the team and thanked them for finding time to visit the judiciary. In her introductory remarks, the NCIA Board Chairperson Ms. Jackie Oyuyo presented a proposal to the Chief Justice for enhancing access to justice through interventions that would further support and enable arbitration including specialists’ arbitration lists, specific arbitration practice rules and notes, and a proposal for a framework for expedited procedures for NCIA-NIFCA related disputes. The Chairperson also presented a proposal for partnership in supporting the Court Annexed Mediation Programme including recognition of NCIA ADR training programme for the Court Annexed Mediation (CAM) accreditation, Continuous Professional Development Programmes for mediation accreditation committee and a proposal for partnership between NCIA and Kepsa to facilitate mediations under the framework of court annexed mediation.The Chairperson presented a proposal for a Memorandum of Understanding with the Judiciary Training Institute for Judges symposium on investment arbitration and the New York Convention and training of other judicial officers in arbitration and other ADR mechanisms
In her remarks, the Honorable Chief Justice noted that the mandate of the Centre and that of the Judiciary were intrinsically tied together adding that the two institutions existed to offer adjudicatory services to clients and as such had a lot in common. She commended the Directors and the Registrar for the wonderful work they have done with positioning Nairobi as a preferred regional center for international commercial arbitration. She noted the role that the Centre was playing in ensuring the uptake and mainstreaming of local mediation services and other ADR services. She went further to observe that the economic activity of any nation is paramount to its success and adjudicatory services are pivotal in ensuring that there is a conducive business environment for commerce to thrive. ‘We are clear in the Judiciary that we need to play our part in creating a conducive business environment by offering adjudicatory services that are efficient, effective, prompt and cost effective noted the Justice Koome. She explained that the services ought to be objective and consistent so that there is predictability in terms of the limits of rights and duties of all persons including business entities. “The judiciary’s vision of Social Transformation through Access to Justice has clearly prioritized certain activities within the commercial justice sector to ensure that we can support an economy that is as vibrant and as robust as ours,” noted the Chief Justice in her remarks. She explained that the Judiciary’s initiatives were geared towards creating a judiciary that is issuing decisions that result in socially just outcomes. A Judiciary that is assisting in the establishment of an egalitarian state that prioritizes the welfare of all persons. She added that as provided for within the Constitution the Judiciary should be a strong institution that is independent, accessible, efficient and protects the rights of all especially the vulnerable. She noted that the judiciary focused on its mandate and looking to achieve some fundamental milestones including the following: a. A High Court and Courts of equal status in every county and a magistrate’s court in every sub county. b. Trial cases should not take more than 3 years and appeal cases not more than 1 year. c. Managing and even clearing the backlog of cases through various mechanisms including, no-adjournment policy; service weeks; active case management. d. Prioritization of commercial and anti-corruption cases. e. Expanding the doorways of justice by adopting a multi-door approach to access to justice. She explained that the expansion of the doorways of justice is anchored on article 159(2) (c) of the Constitution and so the judiciary was looking to promote reconciliation, mediation, arbitration, and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. She noted that the judiciary had recently launched a pilot for the AJS (Alternative Justice System) and was looking forward to formalizing the traditional dispute resolution mechanisms that respond to the people's needs for justice that is easily understood, less bureaucratic, affordable, accessible, and most importantly that is restorative and ensures social cohesion.
She informed the meeting that Court Annexed Mediation was launched on a pilot basis at the Family and Commercial Divisions of the High Court in the year 2016 and had been rolled out to 18 courts and the plan was to progressively roll it out to all courts in the country. Due to limited resources, she observed that the judiciary had adopted a data driven approach to guide the roll out that considers the number of pending civil cases, backlog of civil cases and time to disposition of civil cases. She reported that cumulatively, more than 10,000 cases had been processed through Court Annexed Mediation with a settlement rate of 50.1% and an average time to resolution of 69 days. ‘This is very impressive and indicates that we should all continue to put efforts in this area because of the efficiency of these ADR mechanism’ noted Justice Koome. She further explained that the Small Claims Court (SCC), which deals with claims of less than 1 million and is characterized by informal processes with a 60-day turnaround time, had done equally well. She noted that the judiciary currently has 15 SCC courts and 25 adjudicators. The court has been able to finalize their matters within 60 days and unlocked KSh. 502million (2,347 matters that were concluded) back into the economy. In conclusion, the Honorable Chief Justice noted that she looked forward to working with the Board so that the institutions can improve the commercial justice sector environment and particularly with regards to: a) Training and capacity building for mediators. b) Training and capacity building for judges. c) Mutual accreditation of mediators between the Mediation Accreditation Committee and NCIA. d) Referral of mediation matters. e) Creation of a specialist court list for arbitration including designation of judges to hear these matters. f) Streamlining of rules, procedures and even the legislative framework for mediation & arbitration and; g) Creation of technology platforms to facilitate mediation and arbitration In her conclusion, the Honorable Chief Justice noted that she looked forward to deepening the partnership between the Centre and the Judiciary to improve the commercial justice sector within the Country. She added that there was an urgent need to commence implementation of the issues discussed and committed to form a committee and provide the resources required to ensure rollout of partnership programmes.