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'I'm still here': CJ Maraga hints he won't proceed on early retirement

I'm still here: CJ Maraga hints he won't proceed on early retirement

In Summary

• Maraga promised to work towards reducing the number of days a dispute takes in court in order to contribute towards efforts to get Kenya ranked higher globally for ease in doing business.

• Currently, a commercial dispute valued at $5,000 takes 465 days to be concluded while in other jurisdictions it takes 200 days.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Chief Justice David Maraga during the launch of electronic filing on July 1,2020
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Chief Justice David Maraga during the launch of electronic filing on July 1,2020
Image: ENOS TECHE

Chief justice David Maraga has hinted he will not proceed on early retirement.

Speaking during launch of the Judiciary's e-filing portal on Wednesday, the CJ said he is still around because "there is so much that needs to be done".

"I noticed when the president of LSK spoke it was like he was bidding me goodbye but I am still here," he said.

He added, "When a judge goes on retirement, he or she gets a letter to go on leave from the chief Registrar of Judiciary and that I think will be in November."

Under the new electronic system, all lawyers, police, DPP and members of the public are required to register themselves through a portal to log into the Judiciary system.

The portal is on https://efiling.court.go.ke.

After logging in, one is expected to upload documents and also assess court fees.

Subsequently, one has to submit the files to the registry online for the matter to be filed and placed before a judge for hearing.

Maraga promised to work towards reducing the number of days a dispute takes in court in order to contribute towards efforts to get Kenya ranked higher globally for ease in doing business.

Currently, a commercial dispute valued at $5,000 takes 465 days to be concluded while in other jurisdictions it takes 200 days.

This is something the East African Community CS Adan Mohammed also noted.

Adan said Kenya is ranked position 56 out of 190 countries. Six years ago Kenya was ranked 147.

During the launch, the chief registrar Anne Amadi said the journey to digitise court faced challenges including resistance from within and without and thin resources among others.

Meanwhile, Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure the Judiciary is properly funded.

He further requested that a Bill be put in place to develop a proper framework for e-filing.

Havi said the Bill will shield the digital courts from abuse."Judges have been subject of abuse through social media and soon doctored judgments might appear in social media," he said.

Speaking during the launch of e-filing, Havi said all attempts in the past have failed, but Covid-19 has pushed stakeholders to embrace digitisation of courts.

 

So far, 170 advocates have filed their cases via the e-filing portal.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji lauded the digitisation of the court system, saying it will lead to reduced corruption.

"Benefits of e-filing will lead to reduced corruption and enhance transparency," he said.

His office will now file charge sheets and disclose witness statements via e-filing.

Haji said there's need for people to adopt quickly to digital change.

He urged all stakeholders to take collective responsibility to ensure e-filing works.