The 27 Judges who were recently appointed to serve at the Environment and Land Court (ELC) and the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), are expected to report to their duty stations on August 1, this year.
Out of the 27 Judges, 18 will serve at the ELC, while nine will be based at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
Chief Justice, Martha Koome, said eight of the Judges will sit full-time in newly established Environment and Land Courts, which brings the total number of ELC’s in the country to 34 at the County level with 51 Judges, following the latest appointments.
The new ELC stations are in Nyamira, Kilgoris, Siaya, Vihiga, Kwale, Isiolo, Homa Bay and Nanyuki.
CJ Koome who was speaking, today, to the Judges at the Safari Park Hotel who are undergoing induction ahead of their deployment, said her wish is to see improved access to justice and expeditious disposal of cases.
“Your appointment brings hope to Kenyans, seeking justice through your courts,” she told the Judges.
“Approximately 60 per cent of cases adjudicated in our courts are land matters or have a land related dimension. The implication is that the Environment and Land Court either in its original or appellate jurisdiction, deals with the bulk of cases in our courts,” the CJ added.
On the ELRC the CJ said the Court now has three full-time Judges in Kericho, Malindi and Bungoma, adding that a total of 13,500 cases are still pending in the Court, with the bulk of cases at 9,500 being in Nairobi.
The ELRC court has nine fully fledged registries in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kericho, Nyeri, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, Bungoma and Malindi.
CJ Koome at the same time noted that Kenyans were yearning for justice and deserve accessible and expeditious delivery of justice.
“Every Judge must take individual initiative to reduce backlog and ensure that we hear and determine cases in a timely manner. My expectation is that no case should take more than three years before a Trial Court and no more than one year in an Appellate Court” she emphasized.
She at the same time called on the Judges to embrace active case management to deal with the backlog and the expected increased case filings.
“You must reduce the number of adjournments and strive to resolve cases with fewer hearings. Always endeavour to make each case hearing date meaningful. You must discourage interlocutory applications and preliminary objections,” urged the CJ.
She also told the Judges to be sensitive and more responsive to litigants in order to inspire public trust and confidence in the judicial functions they carry out.
“They have a right to be informed of the orders which affect them, to understand the same and the reason why the orders have been made. You must go out of your way to treat litigants with politeness, dignity, and respect,” stressed Koome.
She also reminded the Judges and other judicial officers of the need to exhibit independence, impartiality, and consistency in their decisions, as embracing excellence, innovation, and accountability will make members of the public have trust and confidence in the Judiciary.
By Bernadette Khaduli