A) Access to Justice
Experience has shown that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) components especially mediation tend to conclude cases faster than the traditional legal representation. Further, Article 159(2)(c) of the Constitution of Kenya recognises ADR and encourages it as a form of dispute resolution to be applied by courts. As a result, the primary thrust of this programme will be ADR, self representation (training litigants to effectively represent themselves in court), and public interest litigation (PIL). Legal aid provisioning in partnership with University based Legal clinics, grassroots organisations working with the target groups and other social justice institutions will be a secondary thrust. Without compromising on the quality of justice accessed to the poor, minority, and marginalized groups, the AJP will emphasize on the speed of delivering justice. Apart from promoting the ‘quick justice’ measures on the demand side, we shall also engage with the supply side of the justice sector through established mediation institutions and the Court Annexed Mediation.
Further, contrary to the ordinary practice where organisations pursue PIL cases up to judgment stage, we will process our cases from the inception stage to the implementation of the judgment through policy, legislative and practice change. This will be achieved through strategic collaborations with the policy makers and the media.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
This will be AMKA’s flagship intervention. We expect to use this litigation approach to fill in gaps in policy and law, to align domestic laws to international standards, and to increase pro minority and marginalised sensitivity in our legal system.
The Pro bono scheme
AMKA will partner with university legal clinics and specific law firms to provide free legal services. We expect to initiate an active data base of pro bono lawyers and legal clinics who will be contacted to provide their expertise in inter alia, PIL, mediation and training in self representation clients.
B) Good Governance & Human Rights Programme
This programme has been engineered to respond to the realities of the Constitutional dispensation in Kenya and changing land scape of human rights violations and bad governance in Africa. The GHR will focus more on engagements at policy level, more specifically to strategically implement the positive outcomes of the impact public interest cases undertaken under the access to justice programme. Its operations will be informed by the happenings at community level through one of its interventions. The innovation here is to focus more on transformative aspects of good governance and human rights principles through PIL and strategic partnerships with grassroots organisations that serve the minority and marginalised groups.
This intervention will focus on ‘below the line’ engagements with communities and municipal duty bearers. It will deal with inter alia:
- Engagement with administrative officers such as registrars, police and local authority.
- Civic education provisioning and awareness on progressive constitution provisions through use of ICT platforms.
- Rights monitoring through community action
- Community monitoring of governance matters such as devolved funds and budgets.
- Strengthen/capacity of law clinics so that to increase access to justice institutions
- Training and equipping chiefs, ‘wazee wa nyumba kumi’
Policy, Practice and Legislative Reforms
We intend to undertake policy, legislative and practice advocacy to implement judgments obtained through PIL and other access to justice interventions. Experience has shown that the crisis is not at the top. In most instances, the challenge is not a policy or legislation crisis; it is a practice crisis. That is, both policy and legislation may be in place, but the problem is the implementation culture amongst duty bearers. Our focus will therefore go a step lower to deal with implementation. Practice advocacy here will focus on the institutional culture that denies entitlements to the poor man and woman, the minority and marginalised groups. In doing advocacy around policy and practice, we shall use three approaches; lobbying, representation and campaigns. The media shall be a key partner.
Human Rights and Research
Monitoring government compliance with international rights instruments affecting the poor, minority and marginalized will be an area of interest for AMKA in the next five years. This intervention will include the engagement with the East African Court of Justice, the African Commission and other regional and international human rights institutions. The production of shadow reports, engaging in Universal Peer Review (UPR) mechanisms and providing technical support to government regarding the instruments where necessary.
Under this intervention, we will also carry out research in two aspects. First, public interest research which will focus on issues affecting the poor, minority, and marginalized. The second aspect will be the programme-driven research. This will include baseline surveys, needs assessments and research for the public interest litigation.
C) Partner Institutions Capacity Building: University law clinics and Grassroots organisations
To improve access to justice, this programme strengthens and build the capacity of the partner institutions. This is done through training and dissemination of information on the available opportunities under the Legal Aid Act 201 The programme provides an opportunity for participating law students to be mentored and prepared to become social justice champions in their future careers in law.