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Inside CJ Koome’s plan to clear 12,000 cases as 20 new judges take office

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 17:48 | By
New High Court Judges pose for a photo with President Wiliam Ruto and CJ Martha Koome. PHOTO/@CJMarthaKoome
New High Court Judges pose for a photo with President Wiliam Ruto and CJ Martha Koome. PHOTO/@CJMarthaKoome

Chief Justice Martha Koome has unveiled a bold plan to address the backlog of cases in the High Court, as 20 newly sworn-in judges embark on a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI).

Under the initiative, these judges will target the resolution of 12,000 pending cases within six months across seven divisions of the High Court at Milimani Law Courts.

Koome plan's

"Twenty High Court Judges who took their Oaths of Office this morning in a ceremony presided over by William Ruto will embark on a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) in seven divisions of the High Court at Milimani Law Courts to clear 12,000 cases within the next six months," Koome revealed.

Chief Justice Martha Koome during a past session. PHOTO/Judiciary Kenya (@Kenyajudiciary)/X
Chief Justice Martha Koome during a past session. PHOTO/(@Kenyajudiciary)/X

Expanding on the initiative, Koome highlighted that the RRI will subsequently extend to courts in the wider Nairobi Metropolitan Area, aiming to resolve an additional 9,417 cases.

"In the second phase of the RRI, we are targeting courts in the wider Nairobi Metropolitan Area, which accounts for 30 per cent of the national case backlog, with the aim of resolving an additional 9,417 cases. As of 30th March 2024, the total pending cases before the High Court were 68,121 cases," she added.

Each newly appointed judge will be tasked with an average caseload of 873 cases. Additionally, in a bid to address prison congestion, judges will oversee Community Service Orders, targeting individuals convicted of minor offences to reduce inmate populations.

"This means that the caseload per Judge is 873 cases. In line with the increased resolution of cases, we are addressing prison congestion by deploying the judges to oversee Community Service Orders, to reduce the population of inmates. As of yesterday, our prisons were holding 62,639 inmates, significantly exceeding the capacity of 30,000.

"Through a Rapid Results Initiative for Community Service Orders, we aim to review sentences for those convicted for minor offences to align the inmate population capacity at the facilities," Koome announced.

In a move to enhance access to justice, the Judiciary is committed to establishing a High Court presence in each of the country's 47 counties.

Wajir County, currently lacking a High Court, will soon benefit from a sub-registry and periodic judge visits. Efforts are also underway to reinstate permanent High Court judges in Lodwar and Kapenguria.

"We are committed to ensuring that each of our country’s 47 Counties has access to a High Court. Currently, Wajir County lacks a High Court and we intend to establish a sub-registry immediately and arrange periodic visits by a judge.

"We will also reinstate permanent High Court judges in Lodwar and Kapenguria, where resident judges were previously withdrawn due to the low number of judges. We have also embarked on reviewing our Constitutional and Human Rights Procedure Rules and Judicial Review Procedure Rules to ensure that time-sensitive public interest matters are heard and determined promptly," she added.

Koome hails Ruto

The CJ hailed President William Ruto for the employment of an additional five Judges of the High Court and 11 Judges of the Court of Appeal.

Supreme Court bench Justices Isaac Lenaola, Smokin Wanjala, Philomena Mwilu (DCJ), Martha Koome (CJ), Mohamed Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u and William Ouko on September 5, PHOTO/Charles Mathai
Supreme Court bench Justices Isaac Lenaola, Smokin Wanjala, Philomena Mwilu (DCJ), Martha Koome (CJ), Mohamed Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u and William Ouko on September 5, PHOTO/Charles Mathai

"We are grateful for the commitment by His Excellency the President during the Summit for Heads of Arms of Government to support the expansion of the capacity of the Judiciary in the quest for expeditious disposal of cases. This includes employment of an additional five Judges of the High Court and 11 Judges of the Court of Appeal. I also wish to congratulate eight advocates conferred with the rank of Senior Counsel during today’s ceremony," she concluded.

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