Why are magistrates' courts best in dispensing swift justice?

In Summary

• CJ David Marga says magistrate's courts are better — swifter —  than High Courts and Appeal Courts i dispensing justice.

 • there are fewer judges than magistrates but whatever the reason, the Judiciary must come up with a durable solution to the demoralising backlog of cases.

Chief Justice David Maraga.
Chief Justice David Maraga.
Image: /PSCU

Yesterday’s comments by Chief Justice David Maraga that magistrates’ courts are the best in dispensing justice are correct and commendable. 

However, the Judiciary needs to move past commending the staff and devise real solutions to clear the unending backlog of cases that slows the wheels of justice.

To ensure justice for the common man who is filing court cases, the Judiciary must focus on speed and efficiency.


Magistrates’ courts that dispense justice swiftly take an average of 665 days to conclude civil and criminal matters.

Appeal Court judges, however,  take an average of 1,235 days — more than three years — to dispose of criminal matters. High Court judges take 522 days for criminal cases.

Why are judges are taking longer to handle cases than magistrates?

Is it that a single magistrate can move efficiently, while in some instances matters are heard by a three-judge bench, which is time-consuming and gives judges a heavy workload?

Is it that there are fewer judges than magistrates?

Whatever the cause, the Judiciary needs to come up with a quick and lasting solution to the demoralising backlog of cases. It must remain true to the adage that justice delayed is justice denied.



Quote of the Day:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.     

Martin Luther King, Jr