New land, labour court judges to report in August - Koome

Koome has urged judges to use active case management to deal with the backlog.

In Summary

• Koome said that the court has 13,500 cases pending, with the bulk of cases at 9,500 being in Nairobi.

• It has nine fully-fledged registries in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kericho, Nyeri, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, Bungoma, and Malindi.

Chief Justice Martha Koome Karambu
Chief Justice Martha Koome Karambu
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

Chief Justice Martha Koome has told the 27 judges of the Environment and Land Court and the Employment, and Labour Relations Court who were recently appointed to report to work on August 1.

The judges who are undergoing induction comprise 18 from the ELC, while nine are from the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

Koome said that 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.

The CJ made her remarks on Wednesday when she met the judges from the two courts ahead of their deployment, saying she hopes 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,” Koome said.

The ELC now has 51 judges following the latest appointments.

 ELRC now has three full-time judges in Kericho, Malindi, and Bungoma.

Koome said that the court has 13,500 cases pending, with the bulk of cases at 9,500 being in Nairobi.

It has nine fully-fledged registries in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kericho, Nyeri, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, Bungoma, and Malindi.

The CJ said Kenyans are yearning for and deserve accessible and expeditious delivery of justice.

“Every judge must take individual initiative to reduce the 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 urged 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.”

At the same time, the CJ pointed out that both courts are critical for the development of the indigenous social justice jurisprudence decreed by the transformative in the 2010 Constitution.

“Our Constitution is unique in its preoccupation with values, principles, rules, and policies touching on the environment and land, and fair labour practices. We must ensure that these values and principles radiate to every nook and cranny of our legal system,” she said.

The CJ also asked judges to inspire public trust and confidence in the judicial functions they undertake by being sensitive and more responsive to litigants.

“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.”