Maraga Launches Alternative Justice System to Reduce Case Backlog

NAIROBI—Chief Justice David Maraga has launched the Alternative Justice System (AJS) Policy which is aimed at enhancing access to justice and supporting expeditious delivery of justice to citizens.

Speaking at the Supreme Court on Thursday when he presided over the launch of the new initiative, Maraga said the policy marks a significant step in achieving judicial reforms and Kenya’s endeavor towards the fulfillment, respect, observance, promotion and protection of the right to Access to Justice.

“Kenyan communities have, for generations, developed their own justice systems that have held, and continue to hold, societies together. While justice dispensed by the Courts has occupied the center-stage in the administration of justice, the reality is that the vast majority of disputes, as much as 90 percent, among Kenyans are resolved through systems that are outside the formal court process,” Maraga said.

He noted that the policy is an important guide on the operationalization of the systems, for all the institutions in the justice system sector.

“Alternative Justice Systems as espoused in this Policy are community-centered and reflect the lived realities of the people and, therefore, eminently more accessible to most people,” he said, and added that “they also achieve justice differently. They prevent injustice and reduce harm suffered by people by focusing on root causes of injustice and on justice needs of entire communities and societies rather than just individuals.”

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said that ideas and methods between formal Justice systems and Alternative Justice System practices and mechanisms will improve each other and deepen justice provision in the country.

“We must continue to breakdown conceptual structures of legal thought and practice inherited from our colonial and post-colonial contexts that serve to alienate judicial practice form substantive justice provision. Promoting and enabling, sister forms of justice provision, is a positive leap in the right direction,” she said.

The Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) policy was drafted by the Taskforce on Informal Justice Systems gazetted by the retired Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga in May 2016.

The task force was mandated to develop a policy to mainstream into the formal justice system traditional, informal justice systems and other informal mechanisms used to access justice in Kenya.

The AJS policy is aimed at providing alternative forms of dispute resolution mechanisms, including traditional approaches, as long as they do not contravene the Bill of Rights, are not repugnant to justice or morality or inconsistent with the Constitution or any written law.

Original article

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Photo: Chief Justice David Maraga launching the Alternative Justice System on 27 August 2020. Source: Capital News.

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