Close Icon

Alternative dispute resolution brings reconciliation

Encouraging understanding between the offender and the offended. For the benefit of all.

Two paralegals, prison officer Agnes Tumanka and Pamela Nyanje, phone a complainant to facilitate alternative dispute resolution with a client.

Lives are lost waiting for justice to arrive.

Imagine spending 600 days behind prison gates as you wait for your day in court.

The agony of not your knowing what will happen only adds to the tension of delayed access to justice.  

The judiciary across the African continent is overburdened and underfunded. With a large caseload and few judges in place; justice is offered to the masses at a snail’s pace.

The 150 judges in Kenya are not enough to cater to a large number of cases. According to local reports, of the daily prison population, 29,796 were convicted people while 23,552 were those in remand in 2019.


Alternative dispute resolution is efficacy at best.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the need to innovate, to keep the wheels of justice turning and reduce prison congestion. Our facilitation of digital courts encouraged stakeholders to rethink the traditional structure of the justice system. Looking towards cheaper, more effective methods to administer justice.

With petty offenses on the rise in 2020, we led the way towards alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Simpler cases like familial disputes around ancestral land and petty offences can now be managed without the involvement of the courts. Our paralegals support clients to resolve matter within weeks of an individual being charged. All through phones we've provided.

ADR encourages understanding between the offender and the offended. Fostering reconciliation among members of the community. Often leading to the best outcome for both parties. Reducing overcrowding while saving public resources.

Since 2019 in Kenya and Uganda, we've facilitated the successful resolution of more than 2,300 people's cases through ADR.

In Words

Keeping the wheels of justice turning.

Immaculate Nnassali
Senior Legal Officer
, Uganda

"ADR helps clients do away with the uncertainty of long waiting periods for full trials and ultimately serves the interests of both parties because it mediates and reconciles.

"As opposed to endless litigation over simple matters oftentimes between people that already know each other or that are even related."

Edigah Kavuravu
Legal Practice Manager, Kenya

"ADR is usually a lot cheaper than a trial and helps clients avoid exorbitant costs that include attorney fees. Unlike a trial date that can vary due to reasons such as the absence of judicial officers or a backlog of cases, ADR can be scheduled at any time.

"Clients will be able to meet with complainants through phone calls and attempt to settle their cases amicably."

Mama Ngor Jain
Legal Officer, The Gambia

"I support ADR because a lot of cases don't necessarily need to be dealt with in court, for example, non-complex family, business issues could be negotiated and settled outside.

"It saves time, never-ending litigation and it usually ends in a win-win situation for both parties involved."

In Words

Creating bridges in justice systems and working for everyone. Without breaking fellowship with anyone.

Honourable Justice Dr. Winfred Nabisinde (Uganda)

“The way Justice Defenders has been operating in this area should be emulated across Uganda. It has been very successful in ensuring that people access justice and that the prisoners, and their rights, are respected.”

Gilbert Niwamanya, Rehabilitation Officer at Luzira Prison (Uganda)

"The training they provide helps the inmates understand the law and where they came into conflict with it. I haven’t seen any prisoners who have been supported by Justice Defenders return to prison.”

AbdulQadir Lorot, Chair of the Court Users Committee, National Council Administration of Justice. (Kenya)

“If we get sentencing wrong, then I don't think we're able to get anything else right. So I'm behind Justice Defenders one hundred percent."