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CJ Koome: SRC, Controller of Budget impeding administration of justice

Chief Justice Martha Koome

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Controller of Budget (CoB) are some of the stumbling blocks to the quest by the judiciary to ensure administration of justice in the country.

Chief Justice Martha Koome accuses the Lyn Mengich-led SRC of meddling with the mandate of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) contrary to the law established.

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“The SRC has encroached on the JSC’s mandate under Article 172(1)(b) of the Constitution which is to ‘review and make recommendations on the conditions of service’ of the staff of the Judiciary, falling outside remuneration and benefits for State Officers,” submitted CJ Koome in a speech delivered on her behalf by her Deputy Philomena Mwilu during the 2023 Annual Judges Colloquium held at a Mombasa hotel Wednesday.

She also accuses the Controller of Budget of erecting unnecessary barriers that have paralyzed efforts to operationalize the Judiciary Fund.

“The Judiciary Fund is not operating optimally as envisaged by the Constitution due to bureaucratic bottlenecks and roadblocks erected by the Controller of Budget.”

CJ Koome who also doubles up as the President of the Supreme Court says the judiciary is already in talks with the said institutions with a view to resolving the ensuing misunderstandings in line with the Constitution.

However, the challenges that confront the judiciary are not exclusively external.

Internally, the Chief Justice says challenges relating to enhancing public confidence and trust still abound.

“One of the emerging areas of complaints that we are dealing with at the JSC and Office of the Judiciary Ombudsperson relates to predictability and consistency in judicial decisions…Where a court makes no effort to strike a balance between predictability and flexibility, public confidence in the judiciary is eroded; and often this is seen as a decision arrived at for considerations other than the facts, evidence or statute,” CJ Koome told the judges drawn from all courts countrywide.

“We need to be aware that the litigants we serve are an enlightened lot; scrutinizing determinations on every issue and the findings of other courts on the authorities cited.”

Other internal challenges relate to delay in delivery of judgement and failure to avail judgments promptly to litigants after pronouncement.

She appealed to judges to always strive to adhere to the stipulated statutory timelines for delivery of judgments to litigants immediately after pronouncement.

The judges, she added, must also endeavor not only to interpret the law but to infuse it with the spirit of social transformation as envisaged by the Constitution.

The Annual Judges Colloquium is organized and hosted by the Kenya Judiciary Academy (KJA).
It brings together Judges from all courts in the country and provides a forum for dialogue and reflection on topical issues affecting the Judiciary, key developments in the law and emerging jurisprudence from the courts.
It also provides a platform for introspection and feedback from the Judiciary’s stakeholders.
This year’s Judges’ Colloquium is themed: The Judiciary’s Role in Realization of the Social Transformation Promise of the 2010 Constitution: Looking Back, Holding Ground and Forging Ahead.
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