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CJ Koome directs Magistrates’ Courts to finalise cases pending for over 3 years

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Chief Justice Martha Koome has directed Magistrates’ Courts countrywide to conduct Rapid Results Initiatives to finalise cases that have been pending for over three years.

CJ Koome, who delivered the keynote speech virtually at the start of the 11th Annual Heads of Station Forum, urged courts to prioritise active case and docket management strategies.

“It is active case and docket management that will help reduce case backlog by ensuring timely delivery of justice and management of our caseload,” she emphasised.

The CJ pointed out that digital-ready courts and the uptake of ICT are vital for streamlining processes and making justice more accessible and underscored the importance of generating reliable justice data, which is a key pillar of informed policymaking.

“Robust data will guide our strategies and ensure our initiatives have the intended impact. We are therefore using technology to enhance accountability of our processes and to get reliable performance data that ensure informed and evidence-based decision making,” she told magistrates attending the meeting.

This year’s magistrates’ forum is taking place in Kisii County under the theme: “Enhancing Organisational Growth and Sustainability through Shared Leadership.”

The Chief Justice informed the meeting that capabilities and functionality of the Case Tracking System (CTS) have been enhanced to improve the tracking and management of cases, strengthen systems and data integrity.

Part of the measures taken include upgrading the CTS to require mandatory uploading of judgments and rulings before updating case outcomes, to ensure litigants or advocates and other stakeholders get immediate access to court decisions.

“In addition, we are making the cause list portal the single reference point for scheduled case events. All courts are required to generate their cause-lists and notices directly from the CTS,” the Chief Justice further directed.

“Another upgrade is with respect to the process of submitting monthly court returns by Judges and Judicial Officers has been automated through the Monthly Returns Portal.”

This will facilitate easier filing and analysis of case progress data, with monthly returns being submitted by the 5th of every month.

Chief Justice Koome commended the performance of Magistrates’ Courts in the first nine months of the 2023/24 Financial Year having resolved 281,211 cases compared to 289,576 cases filed in the same period, attaining a Case Clearance Rate (CCR) of 97 per cent.

The CJ emphasised the need to strengthen specialised courts, including Children’s Courts, the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Courts and the Small Claims Courts, saying their distinctive roles in addressing unique justice questions amplify the impact of justice in the society.

She called for active pursuit of prison decongestion by ensuring that Community Service Orders (CSO) Case Committees are included as a standing item in the Court Users Committee (CUC) meeting agendas.

“I wish to bring it to your attention, that going forward, we will intensify initiatives to reduce prison overcrowding as a measurable target in our Performance Management and Measurement Understanding (PMMU),” CJ Koome indicated.

In her remarks at the forum, the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Winfridah Mokaya said that there would be greater involvement of Judicial Officers and staff at the station level in the budget making process, improvement of infrastructure, mentorship and peer review.

“Embrace intergenerational leadership to guide each other, particularly the younger team members in your station. I would encourage you to walk the talk yourself and create a framework for mentorship and peer review within your station. Be your brother and sister’s keeper.”

CRJ Mokaya stated that her core priority will be to support the Chief Justice in delivering on the STAJ agenda, especially its innovative people-centred justice model, unlocking the potential that the Judiciary Fund presents, improving management of Judiciary resources and proper systematizing policies to results cycle.

Kisii Governor Simba Arati who attended the opening session said his county has developed a child protection policy which has since been approved by the Cabinet and is pending approval by the County Assembly.

“The policy seeks to institutionalise the social protection and welfare of the child. The policy would provide a frame work for implementation of child protection responsive and preventive services in Kisii county, a road map for collaboration and partnership with State and Non state actors for child protection in Kisii, strengthening the existing systems as well as establishment of new structures for the social and economic empowerment and protection of children.”

He also assured the Judiciary that the county has identified and set aside land and premises where the Judiciary can build courts in three more sub-counties in order to take justice closer to the people.

“I am pleased to inform you that the premises and paperwork is now ready. In our view, the premises are sufficient to equally house a Mediation Centre as well as the Small Claims Court.”

He pledged to work with Judiciary in the rollout of Alternative Justice Systems (AJS), which he believes will have positive impact on access to justice for the people at grassroots level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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