Arbitration of succession cases can help reduce backlogs in courts, says Maraga

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Chief Justice David Maraga commissions new court chambers at Kangema law courts in Murang’a.

Chief Justice David Maraga has said land succession cases could be successfully and cheaply solved through arbitration and mediation process.

He said the move could assist to reduce the current case backlog being witnessed in many law courts across the country.

Speaking as he commissioned new court rooms in Kangema of Murang’a County on Friday, the Chief Justice underscored the use of mediation process saying the process is cheap and usually left both parties satisfied.

Maraga said once the parties involved in the succession cases come to consensus, they could present the agreement for signing at court.

“Arbitration and mediation processes can assist to reduce the backlog of succession cases in courts. Once an agreement is reached, what is needed is a consent which is obtained at court and is not charged,” he noted.

He said referring cases to arbitration and mediation is even recognized in the country’s Constitution adding that the process leaves the parties happy and helps in uniting families.

“Cases being done in an ordinary way usually accrues some charges and usually leaves enmity when one is required to foot for the court charges. So let’s use our elders to try to solve these cases touching succession on land,” Maraga further said.

The CJ also said the Judiciary was working to establish small claim courts which would deal with minor cases.

“Some cases have no reason to be heard for a period of even more than a month and that is why we want to establish special courts to deal with minor cases like those of traffic and people who fail to settle their debts,” he noted.

He asked court officials in Murang’a to identify one of the courts where a small-claim court would be established

Currently, Murang’a County has four courts which include Murang’a town, Kangema, Kigumo and Kandara.

The Chief Justice promised to push for the establishment of a law court in the fast growing Kenol town on the busy Nairobi-Nyeri road.

Already, a piece of land has been set aside to have a court and a police station at Kenol, but initially the court will be housed in one of existing government houses.

“I will work out to deploy a magistrate to serve at Kenol so as to help reduce pressure on existing courts with the county,” added Maraga.

Speaking at same time, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria said that his government has allocated 2.5 acres of land at Murang’a town to build a High Court.

Currently, the High Court is housed at Murang’a law courts, a premises which is congested and has only one chamber which serves as a High court.

Wa Iria observed that his administration would list all succession cases which have been in courts for a long time and liaise with the Judiciary to hasten their determination.

“In this county, matters of succession have been a big problem to many families. If these cases can be expedited, it will be a big relief to local families,” noted.