Court driven mediation pumps Sh52Bn into markets

An estimated Kes52.1 billion was injected back into Kenya’s economy due to the efficient resolution of cases through Court Annexed Mediation (CAM). According to Chief Justice Martha Koome, out of 18,162 cases referred to Court Annexed Mediation, 16,770 have reached resolution, accounting for a success rate of 92.3 percent.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu, while delivering the keynote address on behalf of CJ Koome at the 2nd Annual Mediation Summit, she highlighted the positive trend in settlement rates.

In the previous fiscal year (2022/23), the settlement rate stood at 51.2 percent, while in the current fiscal year (2023/24), it has risen to 54.98 percent with the average duration of cases standing at 73 days. Since the previous summit, which centered on ‘Mediation and Banking,’ over 400 cases have undergone mediation exclusively within the banking sector. This initiative has resulted in approximately Kes7 billion being reintegrated into the economy.

The implementation of Court Annexed Mediation spans 40 counties, with ongoing efforts to extend its coverage to the remaining seven counties. Additionally, 60 mediation registries supporting 118 courts have been established. CJ Koome noted a steady increase in the number of accredited mediators, totaling 1,515, with 832 currently active.

Mediation in labour disputes aims to find common ground where the rights of workers and the needs of employers converge, fostering a harmonious workplace. This equilibrium is deemed crucial not only for the well-being of workers and the success of businesses but also for the overall health of the economy and society.

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Mediation to solve labour disputes

The Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) has leveraged mediation to resolve complex labour disputes, with 1,929 matters referred to mediation over the past decade. Of these, 1,796 have been concluded.

The settlement rate for employment and labour matters referred to mediation from January 2024 to April 15, 2024, stands at 52.21 percent, with an average case duration of 36 days.

Mediation, characterized by principles such as confidentiality, voluntariness, and neutrality, offers a unique avenue for addressing labour disputes by fostering a collabourative environment where mutually beneficial solutions can be explored.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Principal Judge Byram Ongaya expressed the court’s endorsement of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms as effective approaches to resolving disputes in employment and labour relations. He emphasized the importance of ADR and Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) in ensuring justice prevails.

“ADR and AJS are the way of the future for workspace and workplace disputes. Their role in making justice our true shield and defender is more crucial than can be achieved by court proceedings,” Justice Ongaya said.

Labour CS Florence Bore, present at the opening ceremony, lauded mediation as a catalyst for broader societal transformation by promoting social justice within workplaces. She noted that mediation not only addresses traditional labour disputes but also offers a flexible framework to tackle emerging challenges in the world of work, fostering sustainable solutions based on principles of fairness, equity, and respect.

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