Community Initiated Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Isiolo
Legal Resources Foundation Trust has been working tirelessly to unclog the criminal justice system through the use of paralegals who commit the work in prisons and courts. The paralegals provide free legal aid and assistance to inmates, link the inmates, mostly pre-trial detainees with Justice Actors, make case follow-ups necessary to move stagnant cases, employ innovative Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and call for improved conditions in detention facilities with respect to human rights. In Isiolo, LRF paralegals (With the support of Swedish Embassy through Diakonia) have innovatively developed a tool being used by pre-trial detainees to make applications to court to have their cases resolved alternatively through the Traditional Dispute Resolution mechanism where community elders amicably convene complainants and the accused at the prison. The outcome of their sitting is then filed in court where it is adopted and the accused is released based on the same. This innovation has been welcomed and adopted by the court and is playing a big role in reducing matters present in litigation and decongesting the prison. To note, such community driven legal instruments draw from the enabling legal framework articulated in Article 159(2) (c) of the Kenya Constitution that seeks to advance the embrace of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to decongest the Criminal justice system. The Chief Magistrate’s Court in Isiolo has been very supportive to LRF’s work in advancing the use of Traditional Dispute Resolution Mechanisms for prisoners through the use of ADR in both criminal and civil cases.