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.