Judicial processes have slowed down in Homa Bay courts following an industrial action by lawyers over delayed fee payments.
The legal representatives, through their organization the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), begun boycotting court sessions on Monday demanding an outstanding fee of Sh2 million by the Judiciary.
The government normally hires advocates for murder suspects who could be sentenced to serve life imprisonment and cases involving minors at a fee paid by the government.
Speaking to KNA in Homa Bay town, the county LSK chairperson Japheth Osoro said the service fees have not been paid for the last one year.
“It appears as if the service we offer for the government is for free. That should not be the case. None of my members ever receive his dues,” Osoro said.
Osoro also said that they charge a total fee of Sh30, 000 per case represented which is paid in two installments at the start and at the end of the case.
He further said that the matter has been raised before the Court Users Committee (CUC) and the High Court Judge Joseph Karanja but so far, nothing has been done adding that the only way out to demand for their payments was by absconding services.
The lawyers are now seeking the intervention of Chief Justice David Magara so that their dues are paid.
Speaking on the matter, Homa Bay Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Obutu said the Judiciary was aware of the matter and the information about the delay in fee payment to advocates was with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.
The magistrate said the boycott is likely to cause a backlog of cases within the courts.
“Some of the lawyers who have agreed to continue with their service are not motivated. Some have also refused to take up new cases until they are paid,” said Mr. Obutu.
Homa Bay has six legal representatives contracted by the government to offer legal services to suspects.
By Omondi Osano and Davis Langat