How Courts Unlocked Ksh 52.1B Through Mediation

CJ koome
A picture of Chief Justice Martha Koome at her office April 9.

Chief Justice Martha Koome revealed a staggering Ksh52.1 billion has been successfully reintegrated into the economy through Court Annexed Mediation (CAM), marking a transformative update for Kenya's judiciary and economic landscape.

This significant achievement, highlighted during the opening of the two-day Annual Mediation Summit on Employment Disputes, underscores the judiciary's success in expediting case resolutions and easing economic tensions.

The summit, themed "Harmonising Labour Relations: Fostering Social Justice and Economic Growth through Mediation," was hosted in Nairobi where Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu read Koome's speech. Mwilu detailed that the mediation initiative has seen 18,162 matters referred, with an impressive conclusion rate of 92.3 per cent as 16,770 cases were finalised.

"These numbers not only illustrate our commitment to resolving disputes effectively but also reflect the significant potential economic activities that have been rejuvenated as a result," CJ Koome noted.

In the recent focus on the banking sector, 446 matters were directed to mediation, unlocking approximately Ksh7 billion. The expansion of CAM now spans 40 counties with the judiciary aiming to bridge the service gaps in the remaining seven counties.

Supporting this expansion are 60 Mediation Registries that now assist 118 courts across the nation. The number of accredited mediators has grown to 1,515, of which 832 are actively involved in mediation processes.

Chief Justice Martha Koome.
Chief Justice Martha Koome.

A focus on labour disputes has become central to this year's summit, recognising the critical role the labour sector plays in Kenya's economic and social landscape. Over the past decade, the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) has used mediation to tackle complex labour disputes effectively.

Statistics shared at the summit show that 1,929 employment and labour relations matters were mediated, with a 93.1% conclusion rate. From the start of 2024 to mid-April, the settlement rate for these cases stood at 52.21%, with the average case concluding in 36 days.

"Mediation transcends traditional dispute resolution methods by providing a framework that adapts to emerging workplace challenges," said Florence Bore, the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Protection. "It instils principles of fairness, equity, and respect."

To bolster the effectiveness of CAM, ongoing efforts include the training of mediators, as highlighted by Justice (Rtd) Anne Claire Williams of the Federal Court of Appeals, USA. "In December, we started a training program for 60 mediators who will become ambassadors for mediation," Williams stated.

Justice Fred Ochieng, Chairperson of the Court Annexed Mediation Taskforce of Kenya, urged attendees to promote mediation actively. "Let us all be ambassadors of mediation, which is proving to be a game changer in the judicial process," he encouraged.

Principal Judge Byram Ongaya of the ELRC further emphasized the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms. "ADR and Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) are not just the future of resolving workspace and workplace disputes; they are integral to achieving justice that truly protects and defends," Ongaya explained.

File photo of Supreme Court of Kenya facade in Nairobi
The front view of the Supreme Court of Kenya building in Nairobi.
Supreme Court