CJ Martha Koome says every county should have a High Court, calls for resources

Chief Justice Martha Koome with Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku during the inauguration of the new Kajiado Law Courts on October 19, 2021. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome has asked the Executive to provide resources for construction of more courts to enable Kenyans get access to justice. 

Further, she said that every county should have a High Court, which will go a long way to improve delivery of justice in the country. 

While inaugurating the Kajiado Law Court Complex and launching the operation of Alternative Justice Peaking System (AJS) model yesterday, Koome said there should also be a Magistrates court station in every sub-County.

The Chief Justice said the vision for the Judiciary also lays emphasis on the need to embrace a multi-door approach to the delivery of justice.

She added that the judiciary will emphasise on access to justice by placing a target of ensuring that no litigant travels for more than 100 km to access a court station.

''What this means is that the Judiciary should promote access to alternative mechanisms of access to justice beyond courts. This is aimed at ensuring that litigants have various options in redressing social grievances. Thus, the launch of the Alternative Justice System (AJS) model in Kajiado County is an additional step'' said Koome.

The chief justice added that County Governments, County Assemblies, and other structures at the local level like the National Government Constituencies Development  Funds are essential pillars to the delivery of justice to every Kenyan.

''And due to resource constraints, the Judiciary cannot realise the aspiration of having a High Court in every County and Magistrate’s Court in every sub-County immediately on their own.  Hence,  in several Counties across the country, they have partnered with the County Governments and the National Government Constituencies Development Funds to avail land and build court premises.

She urged leaders in  Kajiado county to partner with the Judiciary in this quest to develop court structures at the sub-county level.

"By doing this, we can fulfill our joint obligation to ensure access to justice to our people.  I therefore welcome discussions and initiatives aimed at collaboration between the County Government or Constituency leadership with the Judiciary geared towards making the quest to have a Magistrates’ Court in each Sub-county within Kajiado county a reality'' added Koome.

 Judiciary, she added will explore opportunities to partner and collaborate with the World Bank and other development partners in initiatives geared towards enhancing efficiency in disposal of cases and ensuring broader access to justice for all Kenyans. This includes the realization of our dream to fully digitize the Judiciary to enhance access to justice.

''I would like to thank the World Bank which through its Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP) has been a valuable partner to the Kenyan Judiciary. The Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP) which is a US$ 120M (Ksh.12 Billion) project was signed in December 2012 and implementation began in 2014'' Said the Chief Justice.

The project is  the first World Bank Project in Africa and has been instrumental in transforming the institution to meet the aspirations of the public as envisioned in the Constitution of our Republic.

''As we inaugurate this Kajiado Law Court Complex, the challenge is now upon the stakeholders in the justice chain, that is the Judges, Judicial officers, and staff and the Court Users to make use of the conducive environment availed by this wonderful Law Court Complex to improve on our service delivery,  remarked the CJ.

''Justice  is  a  shared responsibility.  This  fact  is reinforced by Article 6 of the Constitution which provides for Devolution and Access to Services in Kenya. It commands that Government entities in the National and County Governments must conduct their mutual relations based on consultation and Cooperation'' said Koome.

Kajiado governor Joseph Ole Lenku  said his government has proposed for law courts at Namanga , Oloitokitok and Osilale area where residents are forced to travel many kilometers in such of justice.