Employment And Labour Relations Court Operationalized In Kakamega

The Judiciary has intensified its efforts in reducing court cases, by enhancing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.

Principal Judge, Byram Ongaya, of the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), has said the judiciary recognizes Article 159 of the Constitution, of embracing ADR mechanisms to tackle backlog of Court cases across the county.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Court Users Committee (CUC) held alongside Employment and Labour Relations Annual symposium at a Kakamega hotel, Ongaya said Judiciary was working in tandem with stakeholders to develop a curriculum for the Kenya Judiciary Academy that aims to train conciliators.

‘The Chief Justice, Martha Koome, is working in conjunction with consultants, the court and Ministry of Labour, to develop a curriculum to train conciliators,’ he said.

A conciliator, also called an Administrator Judge, will act as neutral entity between opposing parties and work to ensure the warrying parties settle dispute, without turning for court trial.

‘When inbuilt systems in organizations fail to resolve an employment dispute, it is referred to a tripartite arrangement, where employers unions, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and Ministry of Labour under the Labour Act, have a framework for dispute resolution,’ he added.

He said they anticipate reduced litigation in Court, adding that no case will go to court without passing through all the stages of ADR.

Justice Jemimah Keli, Principal Judge, said the need to establish the (ELRC), was as a result that 80 percent of cases related to Court are from Kakamega.

The Judge assured litigants that they are going to reduce the backlog of cases in less than two years in accordance with the transformation of access to justice.

‘Kakamega Law Court will ensure citizens are served fully and also get justice with ease,’ said Justice Keli.

The Judge, however, requested the Chief Justice, Martha Koome, to open another Court in Likuyani Sub-county, noting that the residents from the far flung areas, are forced to travel more than 120 kms, to seek justice in Kakamega town.

The Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine all disputes relating to employment and labour relations such as disputes relating to or arising out of employment between an employer and employee among others.

Kakamega adds to the list of counties where the Employment and Labour Relations Court, has been established.

Other stations where the Court is established are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri and Eldoret.

There are eight sub-registries in Malindi, Machakos, Bungoma, Garissa, Meru, Kisii, Voi and Kitale.

Vihiga Governor, Wilbur Ottichilo, who graced the function, welcomed the decision of the Judiciary to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolutions, noting that many of the cases of labour disputes could be resolved through mediation.

He attributed increase in court cases to devolution.

Source: Kenya News Agency