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Courts urged to expedite backlog cases

Court stations have been asked to ensure that there is equitable distribution of work to ensure cases backlog are resolved and justice served to the affected victims timely.

Chief Justice Ms Martha Koome speaking at a Nanyuki hotel during the official opening of the 10th head of station forum themed “Building a legacy of excellence in court governance and administration,” said that data from some stations showed that work was not equally distributed within stations.

“I have also noted that work distribution in the stations is not standard and the outcomes are not at optimum for different judicial officers working in the same stations. I call upon all of you to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of work and standardize the same in the stations,” the Chief Justice said.

The Chief Justice urged the 134 heads of stations from across the country who had gathered for a meeting which is expected to last for a week to identify cases and come up with a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) that will see about 86,854 cases resolved and dispensed with by the end of June this year.

“At the end of the period of 2021 to 2022 financial year, there were 521,823 cases pending before Magistrates’ Court with 233,177 of these cases in the court systems for over one year – referred to as case backlog. Of these case backlog, 86,854 cases have been in the Court system for over three years,” she said.

She further pointed out that there were some cases of delayed access to justice attributed by delayed judgements and rulings, at the same time calling upon heads of stations to audit pending rulings and come up with solutions.

“I would like to call upon every one of you to make an effort to audit pending judgments to ensure timely delivery as well as identifying bottlenecks and come up with homegrown solutions to these challenges,” said the Chief Justice.

She called upon the head of stations to adopt “Mahakama popote initiative” to address delayed judgments and noted the initiative had been a game change towards clearance of backlog at the Milimani Commercial and Mombasa Law Courts.

Koome further revealed that the judiciary is in the process of automating the court systems to virtual courts and judicial digital services aimed to improve access to justice among Kenyans.

“After successful launch and entrenchment of electronic case filing (E-filing) for Nairobi, we have now embarked on the second phase of the graduated roll out of E-filling in all court stations countrywide,” said Koome.

She appealed to the head of stations to lead the role in sensitizing judicial officers, court users and staff on the importance of electronic filing systems.

Laikipia Governor Mr. Joshua Irungu said that his administration will earmarked some parcels of land in Doldol, Rumuruti and Kinamba for the judiciary to establish courts, a move that will see residents’ access judicial services easily.

By Muturi Mwangi

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