WILL ALSO HOLD VIRTUAL PROCEEDINGS

Mombasa courts reopen after Covid-enforced closure

Premises shut on June after 11 people tested positive during targeted testing

In Summary

• The 11 Covid-19 cases prompted the courts to shut operations and put all staff under quarantine.

• All the workers have recuperated and are back to work.

Mombasa law courts
Mombasa law courts
Image: FILE

The Mombasa law courts have been reopened more than a month after they were closed on June 19, when 11 staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The Covid-19 cases prompted the courts to shut operations and put all staff under quarantine. All the workers have recuperated and are back to work.

Chief magistrate Evans Makori said during the reopening that 80 per cent of civil cases will be resolved virtually to avoid physical contact at the court.

Makori said litigants with civil cases will file them through email and the matters heard via the Microsoft Teams application.

He said physical appearance of advocates will only be allowed under special circumstances such as urgency of the matter.

Makori said the court has set aside a Wi-Fi spot where parties with no access to internet can connect to access their proceedings.

“For criminal cases, virtual hearing will be conducted for those in remand while those who will have to appear physically, will have to adhere to the guidelines such as social distancing,” he said.

The magistrate said strict vetting of those who can access the court will be done before they are allowed to attend.

 

High Court Judge Erick Ogola said even though the pandemic has immensely affected the world, it has been an eye-opener to the Judiciary.

Ogola said the pandemic has forced institutions to think on how to digitise their services.  

“It has taught us to embrace technology which is long overdue. We still have challenges but the transition is swift,” he said.

Ogola said virtual proceedings have greatly impacted services as they take short time in dealing with cases.  

“With virtual proceedings there is no drama from litigants or accused, no time wastage and we are dealing with more cases than when we have physical proceedings,” he added.

(edited by o. owino)