When Kenyans fought for a new constitution, they wanted a system where the government doesn’t use courts to go against the right ways of justice.
Kenyans wanted a vigilant constitution, one that is constantly on the heels to meet the ever-changing demands of the people. This is why the Judiciary was reformed and has since made tremendous milestones in bettering the law system of Kenya.
Over the past decade, the judiciary has succeeded in creating a platform of justice that exercise democracy and fulfills rich promises. Kenyans now have a solid institution that boldly defends the rule of law that defends their rights.
Through the transformations the Judiciary has made, there is no denying that the Constitution has never been rightly exercised better than today.
For one, with the aim of serving the objective of enhancing better justice delivery and reducing the possibility of citizen alienation for the justice system, the judiciary has increased the number of High Court stations from 14 to 34 in a span of 5 years and others are still under construction.
Some of the completed projects include the Malindi, Naivasha, and Kisumu Law Courts whereas the ongoing projects are the Siaya, Mandera, and Nakuru Law Courts among others. Magistrate courts as of 2016 were 120 compared to 109 in 2011. Also, more Kadhi Courts were constructed and instead of the 15 courts in 2011, by 2016 we had a total of 56.
Consecutively, the number of the Judicial staff has been substantially increased to provide better services. High Court Judges increased from 42 in 2011 to 104 in 2016, while the magistrates increased from 316 to 462 during the five years.
Not long ago, there weren’t so many female staff in the Judiciary, however, during the period under review, out of 25 judges of the Court of Appeal, 8 of them are women. What this means is that the institution is decentralizing and properly getting staffed for better justice provision.
Notably, the Court of Appeal waiting time reduced from nine years to three years, and outer stations hearing appeal matters on a real-time basis.
Apart from case backlog reduction, the Judiciary, in five years from 2011, has improved budget allocation. The institution’s fund has been operationalized and an internal capacity created to manage it competently.
Among other financial transitions include the institutionalization of results based on budgeting and the establishment of a financial management and accountability system. Moreover, the Judiciary has also strengthened its procurement and accounting capacity in order to meet regulatory standards and customer needs.
Staff welfare in terms of the mortgage, medical cover, car loans, and remuneration has been greatly improved as well. Salaries have almost doubled and mortgages have hit more than 3.7 billion in a span of five years.
Without forgetting, the handling of corruption cases features better and more anti-corruption magistrates and inspectorates that have handled more than 19,000 complaints.
Nonetheless, the adoption of technology, rejuvenation of the learning culture, media involvement and enhancement, and a more open and transparent judiciary are some of the other transformations the institution has realized. Kenyan Judiciary Transformative agenda in the the past five years
In the clamour for a new constitutional dispensation Kenya through the various constitutional review meetings and through the bomas draft of the constitution indicated with certainty that they wanted a system where the judiciary is the shield and sword of justice.
Kenyans wanted a judiciary rich in the protection of the dignity and the ultimate happiness of a person above all, a judiciary that is constantly alive to the ever-changing demands of the people. This is why the Judiciary was one of the firs institutions to be reformed and freed from the control of the executive and other parochial interests.
Over the past decade, the judiciary has succeeded in creating a platform of justice that exercise democracy and fulfills the promises of the constitution of Kenya 2010. Kenyans now have a solid independent institution that boldly defends the rule of law that has a clear vision of where and what the constitution demands of us.
The judiciary through its transformative agenda has undertaken programs and projects meant to actualize these rich constitutional edicts. one, with the aim of serving the objective of enhancing better justice delivery , reducing costs of litigation and bringing justice close home in the spirit of devolution, the judiciary has built ,furnished and opened 20 more High Court stations raising the number from 14 to 34 in a span of 5 years.
It is at the core of the judiciary’s transformative agenda that each county should have a High court station and properly so chief magistrate’s courts. Some of the completed projects include the Malindi, Naivasha, and Kisumu Law Courts whereas the ongoing projects are the Siaya, Mandera, and Nakuru Law Courts among others. The magistrate courts in the country as of 2016 were 120 compared to 109 in 2011.
The judiciary has also built more Kadhi’s Courts , the kadhi’s courts were a mere 15 courts in the whole country as of the year 2011and as of 2016 the judiciary created 41 more kadhi’s court stations bringing the total number to a figure of 56 kadhi’s courts.
In the human resource transformative agenda the number of the judicial staff has also substantially increased to provide better and faster services. The number of High Court Judges increased by an addition of 62 new judges from a figure of 42 judges in 2011 to 104 judges in 2016.
The magistrate’s courts have also had increase in numbers while the magistrates increased by a whopping figure of 191 magistrates from 316 magistrates in 2011to 507 magistrates as of 2018.
In the past constitutional dispensation and after the constitutional change there was lack of clear and proper gender balance in the court of appeal. However, during the period the judiciary has out of 25 judges of the Court of Appeal, employed 8 lady justices merited to dispense with justice at the apex court.
In line with the transformative agenda the judiciary in cutting down on bureaucratic bottle necks and assuring Kenyans of an expedient and responsive judiciary. The Court of Appeal waiting time has been reduced from nine years to three years. The judiciary has also made it possible to have outer stations hearing appeal matters on real-time basis.
In making sure that the judiciary is responsive and faster to delivering justice the chief justice has the judicial staff under a performance based agreement to handle cases of 3 years and more expeditiously and since the imposition of this judicial policy the courts have reduced the case backlog extensively. The policy is an all-round policy for all courts from the Supreme Court to the magistrate’s courts.
The judicial budgetary allocation has been on the upward rise with the continued lobbying by the judicial service commission. The budget allocation was at its all-time high in 2013 to 2017 that allowed the courts to build more court stations and hire more court officers. The judiciary has this year obtained an extension of donor funding for development projects being a figure of 10 billion Kenya shillings that will go forth to completing and refurbishing the courts in Mombasa, malindi, embu, nyeri, kajiado and Siaya.
The judiciary Staff welfare has been overlooked for a number of years now but subject to a review by the SRC the employees’ terms have improved exponentially to attract more talented and astute advocates to work in the judiciary. The judiciary has introduced focused and friendly mortgages, medical covers, car loans, and proper remuneration for work done.
The judiciary is at the fore front in the adoption of technology in most of its aspects of filing and recording of court procedures and processes. The judiciary recently approved the pilot project in the commercial law courts high courts in Nairobi on electronic filing of pleadings and paying of the pleadings. The court of appeal further undertook a training of senior advocates on the new systems to be introduced to the court of appeal to expedite the process of filing and hearing the cases of Kenyan and to attain justice for all.
The judiciary through its leadership organ JSC has done more and continues to do more to create an open, transparent and responsive judiciary. These are some of the transformations the Judiciary and JSC have realized in the supervening period.