LSK faults plans to promote judicial officers

By Rose Welimo/Statement

The LSK urged the JSC to rescind the notice

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has protested to Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga over the intended promotion of judicial officers countrywide.

LSK Secretary/CEO Apollo Mboya raised concerns over a mode to fill in vacancies in the Judiciary that locks out practicing lawyers.

Mboya has requested the CJ to cancel a newspaper notice published by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seeking to fill vacancies in the Judiciary unconstitutionally.

“The fact that the notice has locked out private practitioners not only offends the spirit and provisions of the Constitution but also discriminates against other equally qualified members of the profession who wish to compete competitively in the filling of vacancies in the judiciary,” Mboya said.

Article 232 of the constitution provides that the values and principles of Public Service include fair competition and merit as the basis of appointments and promotions
“The current vacancies in the Judiciary are required to be advertised for all the qualified including private law practitioners to compete with the serving judicial officers,” Mboya said.

The CEO said in a letter to the CJ dated July 28 that the newspaper notice dated July 27 entirely contained names of serving judicial officers to be considered when filling vacancies.

The JSC stated in the advertisement published in a section of the mainstream media that it would be conducting promotion interviews to fill vacancies in the Judiciary.

“The JSC can still achieve the intention of meritorious promotion of deserving and competent judicial officers by competitively opening vacancies to all who are qualified for the positions irrespective of whether they are in private practice or are serving judicial officers,” Mboya said.

Mboya said that erosion of the rule of law starts with small steps and if the notice is allowed to stand, in future we may witness filling of vacancies in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal through the same method instead of competitive appointment.

“We (LSK) urge the JSC to rescind the notice, open up the filling of vacancies through an all-inclusive competitive interview of the legal professionals which will take into account meritocracy and competence as the fundamental consideration,” Mboya said.