PLANS are underway to make it compulsory for all civil cases to go for arbitration before being filed in courts, with the move expected to address delays and backlog of cases in courts.
This would be upon tabling in the Parliament the Bill for that matter, according to Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma.
Speaking during the event to mark Law Day in Dodoma on Tuesday, Prof Juma said making all claims and complaints compulsory to go through the mediation and arbitration commission, will be a solution to a number of delays and backlog of cases in courts.
“It must be compulsory for all litigation to be lodged before the mediation and arbitration before filed in court, as it will ensure timely dispensation of justice but also allow confidentiality, flexibility and friendly settlement of matters in conflict,” he said.
Despite the law giving the room for mediation and arbitration, most people skip the option and choose to file cases in court which could be easily settled through mediation.
He said the cases filed in court take between three to ten years while through arbitration the maximum is 30 days whereas the applicant pays nothing compared to charges in the judiciary for the services.
The CJ said they have ensured that all laws and regulations that cover arbitration and mediation are improved to meet the demands as well as to ensure that institutions with mandate to effect the service are well versed for more efficiency.
He said most civil cases applicants and complainants skip the arbitration option which they would reach agreement in the shortest period and both of them emerging victors compared to courts where there are winners and losers.
“Most people are not aware of the benefits in the arbitration circles, the bonds in courts are held until when the cases are settled which is vice versa in the mediation and reconciliation, and it is free of charge, as the government covers all the costs,” said the Chief Justice.
He named some of the litigations which must go through the mediation and arbitration as land, tax and financial, marital, civil and labour related issues.
Moreover, he advised the religious organisations which are in conflict to submit their matters before the institutions and councils under their umbrella and not in courts as per their registration.
“Should they fail to reconcile in their stated religious referral umbrella, then they should table their matters to the administrator general, who has registered them and know their finer details,” said the Chief Justice, adding; “There is a growing trend of the faith-based organisation to file cases in court, while they have not exposed the stated referral avenue, thus, exposing matters which could be settled in their respective councils.”
Speaking earlier, the Attorney General, Dr Eliezer Feleshi said they have initiated a legal amendment process to make it compulsory for all civil cases to be filed through the mediation and arbitration.
He said the bill to that effect will be tabled in parliament soon as he believed it to be a solution for timely dispensation of justice.
Dr Feleshi said it is through arbitration that there will be no justice delays because through the court, there are many technical aspects to be debated which makes the case to take long.
To make the arbitration service available, the AG office has registered 494 arbitrators and mediators, instead of filing cases abroad.
Moreover, he said, plans are ongoing to register more competent arbitrators and mediators, whose names would be submitted to the international councils.
He directed judges and magistrates, to submit to his office the names of state attorneys or other officials who in one way or another are a stumbling block to implementation of the mediation and arbitration services.
During the event, the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) committed to work closely with the government to ensure effective dispensation of law.