What the swearing in of 20 new High Court Judges means to Judiciary

Twenty High Court Judges took their Oaths of Office on Tuesday May 14,2024 in the morning in a ceremony presided over by President William Ruto.

Chief Justice Martha Koome has finally highlighted the impact the move has on Judiciary.

According to Koome, the Judges 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.

In the second phase of the RRI, Koome says Judiciary is 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 at 30th March 2024, the total pending cases before the High Court were 68,121 cases. This means that the case load per Judge is 873 cases,” she stated.

In line with the increased resolution of cases, the Judiciary is 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,” she said.

The CJ was however quick to note that Through a Rapid Results Initiative for Community Service Orders, aims to review sentences for those convicted for minor offences to align the inmate population capacity at the facilities.

She reiterated the Judiciary’s commitment towards ensuring that each of the country’s 47 Counties has access to a High Court.

Currently, Wajir County lacks a High Court, but the CJ says there shall be  established a sub-registry immediately and arrange periodic visits by a judge.

The Judiciary will also reinstate permanent High Court judges in Lodwar and Kapenguria, where resident judges were previously withdrawn due to the low number of judges.

Meanwhile, Judiciary has embarked on reviewing its Constitutional and Human Rights Procedure Rules and Judicial Review Procedure Rules to ensure that time-sensitive public interest matters are heard and determined promptly.

The CJ lauded President William Ruto for commitment to support the expansion of the capacity of the Judiciary.

“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,” she said.

Koome also used the moment to congratulate the 8 advocates conferred with the rank of Senior Counsel during today’s ceremony.

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