Koome pushes for Executive support to administer justice sector

Friday, November 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Attorney General Paul Kihara (left), Chief Justice Martha Koome and Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma during the official annual State of the Judiciary at the Supreme Court, yesterday. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

Chief Justice Martha Koome yesterday  called on all arms of government and State agencies to co-operate with the Judiciary in its endeavour to administer justice. 

Koome, who was launching the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Report at the Supreme Court noted that there was need for a shift towards a collaborative as opposed to antagonistic approach to inter-branch and inter-agency engagement and relations.

“For the State to realise Kenyans’ long-held desire for a responsive and efficient justice sector, there must be a shift in how State institutions engage,” she said.

Koome noted that the realisation of the right to access to justice is not an obligation vested solely on the Judiciary but a shared responsibility of all State organs and institutions. 

“Collaborative institutional engagement is set within the very fabric of the Constitution.

This spirit of harmony also envisages a balanced relationship of mutual respect for the independence of each arm of government within this collaborative approach,” she said.

The call for a new direction in inter-institutional relationship was informed by the reality that the 2020/21 Report on State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice, like the previous ones, shows that the Judiciary was not operating optimally due to significant budgetary, infrastructural and human resource constraints.

Report indicates that a total of 617,582 cases were pending or unresolved as the year commenced in July 2020. In the said year, a total of 356,997 cases were filed; 242,457 criminal cases and 114,540 civil cases.

Pending cases

From the workload of 617,582 pending and 356,997 filed cases, the courts resolved 294,837.

Report indicated that among the resolved cases, 207,255 were criminal while 87,582 were civil.

“Consequently, the Judiciary closed the year with a balance of 649,112 pending cases. Comparing the filed to resolved cases, I am delighted to report that the Judiciary achieved a Case Clearance Rate of 83 per cent,” said the CJ.  

Koome thanked and recognised the leadership of former Chief Justice David Maraga, who she said steadily steered the Judiciary through a turbulent and uncertain period, despite the dangers and challenges posed by the pandemic.

She said the Judiciary put in place measures such as a Performance Management Rewards Scheme, and Active Case Management reorientation and training, all geared towards enhancing their performance and the Case Clearance Rates.

It was her statement that the resolution of backlog cases, especially those aged three years and above in Trial Courts and One Year and above in Appellate Courts was now her priority under the ‘Social Transformation through Access to Justice Vision for the Judiciary.

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