- The Judiciary noted that the guidelines address the concerns of court users and harness technology to streamline the process.
- The system not only generates online invoices and receipts but also simplifies the entire payment process.
Chief Justice Martha Koome has issued guidelines to speed up the payment of fines and cash bail.
The move aims to improve the efficiency of the judicial system.
In a statement on Thursday, the Judiciary noted that the guidelines address the concerns of court users and harness technology to streamline the process.
"These guidelines represent a significant step towards a more streamlined and technology-driven judicial system, ensuring timely and transparent handling of fines and cash bail, ultimately benefiting court users and the administration of justice," the statement reads.
Among the notable changes made is that the processing of payments will now occur in open court, increasing transparency.
This is in line with the Judiciary's adoption of technology using the Case Management System, which enables electronic payment of court fees, fines and deposits.
The system not only generates online invoices and receipts but also simplifies the entire payment process.
The guidelines require that pleas must be registered by 9 am.
"This is to ensure the timely processing of fines and bail. In cases where this is not feasible, Court Users' Committees will provide guidance," the Judiciary added.
Further, every plea-taking court will have two Court Assistants where the first assistant will support the magistrate with various court duties, while the second assistant will handle the processing of fine and cash bail payments.
This will include generating invoices, providing copies to the accused, and facilitating payments through the online portal.
As for the accused individuals who cannot make payments in open court, the Chief Justice said they will receive an invoice and be given a reasonable period to settle their fines or cash bail.
In addition, committal warrants will be prepared for those who fail to pay by 4 pm on the day of their plea.
TransLegal defines a committal warrant as a court order allowing a judge to enforce another order or judgment against a person or entity that has ignored its terms.
Koome said efforts have also been made to ensure financial controls are maintained, with each court station having an accountant responsible for daily revenue collection reconciliation.
The Judiciary’s Directorate of ICT has committed to automating these processes within 30 days, enhancing efficiency and accessibility.
A bail is a condition set by the court to secure the release of an accused person temporarily as they wait for the conclusion of their trial.
In Kenya, every accused person even in capital offences like murder and robbery with violence has a right to bail under the law but the right is not absolute.
Bail is also a condition to ensure that the accused will attend court during the trial.
Kenya Law Reform Commission defines bail as an agreement between the accused person or his sureties and the court that the accused person will attend court when required.
The KLRC further states that courts have come up with some compelling reasons including the nature of the charge or offence and the seriousness of the punishment to be meted if the accused person is found guilty and child offenders.
Other reasons are the strength of a prosecution case, the character of an accused person, the likelihood of interfering with witnesses, the need to protect the victim or victims of the crime and the relationship between the accused and potential witnesses.
A court can also deny bail when the accused person is a flight risk if the release of an accused person will disturb public order or undermine public peace or security, and if there is a need to protect the accused person.