The Law Society of Kenya (LSK), South Eastern Bar, has urged residents to consider embracing alternative dispute resolution when undertaking litigation. While speaking to the media, Raphael Marete, an advocate and a member of LSK based in Loitoktok, said Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is legally accepted as a means of seeking justice outside the court. Marete further noted that the resolutions agreed upon by the parties involved in ADR are then brought to court, where they are adopted and judgement passed. The advocate pointed out that ADR not only reduces the time taken by the court to dispense justice but also defuses feelings of revenge as well as enhancing restoration and cohesion, which are crucial for the continuity of peace in society. However, Marete observed that not all cases are subjected to ADR; for instance, cases of defilement or those involving children cannot be resolved through ADR, but cases of debts and assaults may be resolved outside the court. Marete, who was speaking outside Loitoktok Law Court premises during the start of LSK service week, which runs from October 23 to October 27, called upon local residents to turn out in large numbers for free services and legal advice during this week. On prevalent cases in Loitoktok, the advocate cited defilement being rampant, attributed to the culture of early marriage in the Maasai community. He, however, noted that LSK has sensitised the local community against the practice, which is against the law. Marete further noted that LSK offers pro bono services for accused persons who are under 18 and involved in defilement cases. He appreciated the judiciary for establishing a Small Claims Court at Loitoktok Law Court, adding that this has come at the right time for enhancing justice at a low cost to the residents. Marete noted that previously those with small claims were forced to hire advocates for their case, which was expensive and mostly ended up not benefiting, with some even being discouraged from seeking justice. However, with Small Claims Court, the fees are affordable to the ordinary mwananchi and mostly do not require the services of an advocate. LSK, South Eastern Bar, stretches from Kajiado town to Taita Taveta.
Source: Kenya News Agency