No end in sight for Kericho court woes

RIFT VALLEY |

Lawyers in Kericho walk through the streets to mark the start of the free legal awareness week. [Nikko Tanui, Standard]

Advocates in Kericho have condemned new law courts premises as unfavorable for their work and asked Judiciary to move activities to a better place.

The newer location was considered seven months ago after a National Building Inspectorate declared the older offices unsuitable, citing infrastructural deficiencies.

Speaking during a free legal aid week in Kericho, the lawyers demanded that the Judiciary ensures the courts have at least the basic requirements.

It was after this report that the Judiciary moved all activities to Corner 'C'.

The lawyers, who spoke during the start of the free legal aid week on Monday, said the new location is not suitable and as a result, they are unable to work.

They accused the leadership of the Judiciary of doing nothing to improve the conditions of work.

Siele Sigira, from the local branch of the Law Society of Kenya, said conditions at the new location of the courts are not conducive for work.

"The new venue does not even qualify to be called a court. A court must have chambers, a registry, and basically, all the facilities that a court needs. Judges of the High Court, the Environment and Land Court and Employment Court have nowhere to sit," said Sigira.

He added: "At least seven judges and magistrates have nowhere to sit. As of now, we can say we don't have a court in Kericho."

Sigira noted the virtual court hearings that were meant to ease access to justice were are yet to start.

"The Judiciary and the Chief Register of the High Court are yet to set up an enhanced information communication infrastructure which could have assisted the Kericho station in the dispensation of justice. Even then, judges and magistrates don't have somewhere to sit," he said.

Sigira appealed to the National Treasury to set aside funds for the construction of new courts in the county.

"Aside from the funds, the Parliament must also put in place other measures to enhance access to services of the court by residents of Kericho and Bomet," he said.

Area governor Paul Chepkwony had said his administration was ready to provide land for the Judiciary to construct new court premises.

In the meantime, the lawyers accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of disobeying court orders by failing to swear in six of the 40 judges he omitted in the June appointments.

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