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Chief Justice David Maraga has urged Kenyans to embrace the Alternative Justice System to resolve disputes instead of turning to courts and overloading them.
The Chief Justice noted the alternative system is better for families, adding it will maintain cordial relations among the members even after the matter is resolved.
He said matters of succession take two to 10 years to be finalized in court, stressing it was necessary for parties to agree and only go to court to seek orders to sub divide their land among the children.
Speaking after he launched Etago Magistrates court in Kisii county yesterday, the CJ stressed there was no reason why succession cases should end up in court.
“ We will continue pushing for increased use of the Alternative Justice system, along with other initiatives that improve access to justice and particularly faster and easier resolution of disputes,” Maraga said.
He said the Judiciary is rolling out Small Claims Courts where matters involving disputes of a value not exceeding Ksh. 1 million will be determined
The CJ said the Small Claims Act restricts the number of adjournment times to three to address challenges of the adjournments which slow down the conclusion of cases.
Maraga, accompanied by Governor James Ongwae, Deputy, Joash Maangi, area Mp, Silvanus Osoro, Chief Registrar, Anne Amadi and Presiding Judge, Rose Ougo and South West Branch LSK chairman, Wilkins Ochoki and County Assembly Speaker, david Kombo said and the Head of the new court Senior Resident Magistrate, Paul Wechuli said the court will serve residents and those from neighboring counties.
He urged the local community, the county government and other justice stakeholders to ensure the setting up of the court is smooth, adding it will save locals money travelling to far flung courts to seek justice.
The CJ said the locals were served by Ogembo court station, about 30 kms away, adding the Judiciary provided Mobile court services three times a month to foster justice to the area residents.
“Already the case load has been growing steadily with over 600 cases a year without even considering the many civil cases, mainly to do with succession,” Maraga said.
He said the Judiciary has another 16 magistrates courts and four High Court stations- in Isiolo, Kwale, Vihiga and Nandi and the Magistrates courts in Ol-Kalou, Madiany, Zombe, Port Victoria, Borabu, Kendu Bay, Wamunyu, Malaba, Matiliku, Usigu, Kasarani, Masinga, Manga, Tinderet, Kenol and Rumuruti.
The CJ said the Judiciary wants to have a high court in each County and a Magistrates’ court in each of the 290 constituencies, adding the country has 43 high courts and 128 magistrates Court.
Ongwae urged the Judiciary to set up a Municipal court and construct a court of Appeal in the county, adding the county government has provided land.
Maraga appealed to the county government to provide premises for the Municipal court to be set up, adding plans were underway to construct more Magistrates courts in the area to enhance justice to locals.