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Nyeri lawyers protest over delay in delivery of judgements

 Nyeri Law Courts building. [Courtesy]

Operations at Nyeri Law Courts were today paralysed after lawyers protested over delays in the delivery of judgments.

The lawyers from the Nyeri Bar Association who held a closed-door meeting to air their grievances called for urgent action to enhance their working relationship with judges and magistrates.

The lawyers complained over the delay in concluding matters at the High Court where Justice Martin Muya is overwhelmed after the transfer of Lady Justice Florence Muchemi to Thika last year.

Justice Muchemi was replaced by Lady Justice Maureen Ondelo who up to date has never held a sitting.

The Bar Association chairperson Edwin Ndichu noted that 200 judgments were pending in the High Court and the sitting judge cannot handle them alone.

“A recent audit conducted internally showed that Justice Muya has hundreds of pending Judgments and rulings, some dating back two years. We have tried coming up with homegrown solutions but unclogging the backlog of Judgments will require concerted efforts amongst the various stakeholders," Ndichu said.

He said there has been no solution forthcoming as to how the Judge intends to clear the said backlog.

The lawyers are demanding another judge in the High Court to reduce the backlog on pending matters.

“Since last year there has been an increase of pending cases especially in the High Court which delay justice,” he said.

Ndichu said the Bar Association submitted a memorandum through the court administrator highlighting issues the want addressed urgently.

They complained that the Court of Appeal in Nyeri never conducts physical sessions.

"Indeed, beyond interacting with the appellate judges virtually, most junior counsel have never appeared before them physically," he said.

The lawyers appealed for physical court sessions to provide advocates with work experience from which the court will in future draw its judicial officers.

According to the memorandum presented by the lawyers, most of the magistrate courts start sessions an hour or two late and without notice or apology to members.

"This lateness in courts has disorganised advocates who at times have more than one brief they’re handling at a go in addition to other responsibilities in chambers," Ndichu said.

Another issue raised was the withholding or controlling of diaries by magistrates on leave.

According to the memorandum some Judicial officers on leave dictated how many matters a court diary should have and this can take years to conclude.

The lawyers said that other courts have directed that execution proceedings emanating from the court that issued the decree should not be handled by any other court when the former court is on leave.

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