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Chief Justice Martha Koome.
Chief Justice Martha Koome has said 50 magistrates will be hired next month in a bid to speed up the wheels of justice.
She said the Judicial Service Commission will also make efforts to employ more judges, especially after six judges were recently elevated to the Court of Appeal.
The CJ at the same time called on Kenyans to embrace alternative dispute resolution methods to address issues.
“We also need a multi-door approach like the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Court Annexed Mediation to offload cases from the courts,” Justice Koome said during a meeting with the principal and presiding judges of the High Court.
In June, President Uhuru Kenyatta swore in 34 judges and rejected six others from the list recommended by JSC over integrity issues. Four of those rejected are High Court judges while two of them were magistrates, who had been elevated to the High Court.
During the meeting, Justice Koome noted that more than 5,000 cases had been resolved through mediation with a success rate of 60 percent, injecting Sh14 billion back into the Kenyan economy.
The CJ said all cases in the courts should be active before a clerk, deputy registrar or judge.
“I will engage other stakeholders at the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) to encourage use of plea bargaining,” she said.
The Chief Justice has been rooting for the adoption of a no-adjournment policy in the courts as part of her strategy to clear the perennial backlog of cases.
She has previously stated that she wants all cases resolved within three years of filing, and within a year in the appellate stage.
Principal Judge of the High Court, Justice Lydia Achode, told the CJ that various divisions of the High Court have been clearing case backlog through comprehensive case audits.
“The Commercial and Tax Division which had 7,497 cases as at June 30, 2020 has managed to clear 3,744 cases,” Justice Achode told the CJ. Over the same period, 2,315 new cases were filed, leading to a caseload of 6,038 as at June 30 this year.
“The division has also adopted use of the Judiciary Transcription System where court proceedings are recorded and transcribed real-time,” she added.
In the Family Division, 1,556 cases were resolved out of 4,519, with an additional 2,621 new cases filed, while in the Civil Division, 1,869 cases were finalised over the same period out of 6,867, with an extra 1,979 new cases lodged.
At the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division, there were 190 cases pending as at June 30, 2020 with 75 cases resolved by June while 62 new cases were filed over the same period.
In the Judicial Review Division, 276 cases out of 1,153 cases were resolved, with another 342 cases filed over the same period, while 397 cases were resolved in the Criminal Division 397 out of 1,628, with another 918 cases filed.
In the Constitutional Division 1,016 cases were pending, with an additional 454 cases filed and 407 finalised over a similar period.
Apart from the audits, the courts have adopted use of IT, updating the case tracking system, using service weeks, Rapid Result Initiatives and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms to finalise pending cases. – businessdailyafrica.com