New Chief Justice gives three-year deadline for court cases

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 00:00 |
Chief Justice Martha Koome.

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

Koome took office yesterday with a pledge to ensure that no case takes more than three years before it is concluded.

Koome, who is the country’s first woman Chief Justice, was handed the instruments of power by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu at the Supreme Court building yesterday.

The instruments of power included the Constitution of Kenya (2010), Judiciary emblem and a status report on initiatives by the legal institution.

The new CJ asked every judge and judicial officer to decline any invitation to rule on any case based on bias, or ill will and stick to the rule of law by doing that which the Constitution, the law and oath of office tells them.

“I assure you my dear colleagues that we will respect and enforce the decisional independence of individual judges and magistrates,” she pledged.

Justice Koome committed to embrace a case management system and multi-door approaches to dispense justice.

“My team will build working relationships with other actors in the administration of justice; to reach our court users and other parties with a view to building their capacity with knowledge that will empower them to bear their own agency and to become champions for justice,” she said.

Backlog of cases

The CJ, however, noted that the Judiciary was still grappling with unacceptable high levels of case backlog despite efforts in the last 10 years that had significantly reduced the number of old disputes.

“CJ Maraga’s tenure focused on all courts concluding all cases that were five years old and above... we will continue that trajectory and ensure that at any given time no case shall be in the justice system for longer than three years,” she said.

Justice Koome noted that embracing the use of technology as a primary tool in their work has been a key focus area of transformation and they will continue to do so.

She called for support from the government and other stakeholders in improving access to justice.

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