Kenyan banks and customers now have an alternative dispute-resolution mechanism to taking matters to court.
This follows the launch of the Banking Industry Mediation Centre, by the Kenya Bankers Association and the Strathmore Dispute Resolution Centre that provides a platform for the resolution of disputes between customers and their banks.
The centre at the Strathmore Law School in Nairobi is intended to help reduce the backlog of court cases across the country according to Dr Julie Oseko, an official with the Judiciary.
Six banks––Barclays, Equity, Family, Housing Finance and Gulf African––are currently taking part in the pilot phase.
Dr Oseko, who spoke at a meeting at Strathmore University to celebrate the conclusion of the first case that had been successfully mediated by the centre, said alternative dispute resolution is gaining recognition globally as a speedy and affordable method of getting justice.
“As part of the ongoing implementation of the Constitution of Kenya (2010), significant developments and changes have taken place both in the entire justice system. There is now a structure for carrying out mediation within the Kenyan legal and institutional framework,” he said.
Dr Luis Franceschi, dean of Strathmore Law School, said mediation is a viable avenue to help preserve valuable relationships between banks and their customers.
The banker’s association came up with the idea following the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 2012, which recognises the need for dispute-resolution mechanisms.
Chief executive Habil Olaka said the mediation would not deny consumers’ their constitutional right to take legal action in an appropriate court.
-Story by Nation Media