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CJ Maraga changes court practice rules to protect judges against Covid-19

KENYA
By Everlyne Kwamboka | April 19th 2020

The Judiciary has introduced new practice rules to shield its staff and other court users from coronavirus.

In a raft of measures that will see litigants, lawyers and judicial officers operate using electronic means, aggrieved parties in a dispute have been protected by the court from serving suit papers physically in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19 disease.

The new rules allow parties to serve documents using electronic mail and mobile messaging applications. In a gazette notice, published by Chief Justice David Maraga, litigants seeking redress in civil, Judicial Review of even Constitutional petitions are to canvass their cases through written submission to be filed at the registries.

Video or teleconferencing shall only be used by judges where necessary to dispose of any matter before the court.

“Practice directions shall supersede any other practice directions issued by any court or division regarding the operations of the court in response to the risks occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic,” Maraga said.

The judges are to issue interim orders in matters filed under certificate of urgency if satisfied that the application is urgent.

“The court may grant the orders sought in ex parte applications without hearing advocates or parties. However, where the court is satisfied that orders being sought should not be granted, the court shall make such orders and directions as may be appropriate and notify the parties of the same expeditiously,” reads part of the rules.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to stay at home with several sectors scaling down operations and have minimal staff. This has had an impact on execution of judgments.

“The court may, on its own motion, either within the judgment, ruling or order, or as a separate order, direct the period for which execution of judgment, ruling or order shall be suspended or stayed,” Maraga said.

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