High Court head decries shortage of judges hence backlog of cases

When President William Ruto presided over the swearing in of Judges of the High Court at State House on December 7, 2022. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Principal Judge of the High Court Justice Erick Ogola has said there is still a shortage of judges, adding that they need 20 more.

He said the ratio of judges to file currently stands at 1:1000 leading to case backlog. Justice Ogola said this yesterday at Flamingo Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa during a judges’ leaders meeting attended by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

He said there was currently a 76,000 caseload being handled by 78 High Court judges, adding all cannot be determined in time.

“With 76,000 case-load in the High court, the ratio of judges to file is 1:1000. This is too much for one judge and it would impede justice. I have made a proposal to Judicial Service Commission for additional 20 judges and if granted, our ratio will be in 1:800,” he said.

He urged the judges in various stations to enhance supervision of their regions so that registries and magistrates’ courts under them were accountable to court users.

“The proper function of the High Court is reliant on effective registries and magistrate’s courts. Therefore, we must tighten our supervision. I believe we have all seen the outcry by advocates on social media regarding our region,” said Ogola.

He said to stop this, judges must collaborate with other justice actors by encouraging cooperation and dialogue when need be as demonstrated by the Chief Justice since she took over.

“How can we communicate with the public better? In the spirit of cooperation and dialogue as espoused in the Chief Justice's Vision. I implore us to take a more active role and collaborate more with other justice actors so that we can ameliorate the challenge we face in our service delivery,” said Justice Ogola.

He urged the judges to continue their work despite financial problems in their workstations.

“Challenges of finance affect all departments. It is arguable, however, that the High Court due to its spread and supervisory jurisdiction countrywide, feels the greatest impact,” he added.

Value addition: State mulls tax incentives to spur tea sector
Mixed reactions as Nakuru MCAs endorse Finance Act
Premium CBK says Safaricom, M-Pesa split still on amid tax standoff
Premium New bill proposes stiff penalty for failure to remit housing levy