Chief Justice Martha Koome has Friday launched the electronic filing system in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay counties.
This follows the e-filing adoption in Nairobi and Mombasa counties
Speaking during the launch ceremony the Chief Justice said Kenyans will no longer be hindered by geographical constraints or the burden of time-consuming journeys to physically submit pleadings and legal documents to courts.
“The process will now be as straightforward as a click of a button, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week” she said.
Deputy Governor of Kisumu County Dr. Mathew Owili lauded the Judiciary for the homegrown e-system that will enable more citizens access justice remotely.
He added that ordinarily organisations outsource ICT solutions that often end up failing because they are not adequately responsive to customer needs.
“ICT will change the way justice is delivered and lost files will be a thing of the past, this will improve case management and service delivery,” said Dr.Owili
Justice Isaac Lenaola who is a Supreme Court Judge and Chairperson of the ICT and Integrated Court Management System promised that litigants will now access judgments within seconds of uploading.
He added that the system will enhance transparency and efficiency in assessment of court fees and increase revenue collection.
The LSK President Eric Theuri acknowledged that e-filing will ease the manner in which court cases are filed and processed. “The system will infuse efficiency and reduce the cost of running law firms,” he said.
CJ Koome also opened a Small Claims Court and designated a specialised Sexual Gender Based Violence Court (SGBV) at the Kisumu Law Courts. The SGBV court becomes the third after Shanzu and Siaya while the Small Claims Court becomes the 12th in the Republic.
While designating the SGBV court, the CJ noted that the initiative to establish the court in Kisumu was a testament of the Judiciary’s unwavering commitment to safeguard the most vulnerable. “To the victims of SGBV, our message is clear: You are not alone. You are seen, you are heard, and justice will be your shield and your refuge,” said Justice Koome.
Justice Agnes Murgor, Judge of Appeal and President of the International Women Judges Association- Kenya Chapter noted that the establishment of SGBV courts was an answer to many years of agitation to establish specialized courts with a survivor–centred approach.
“Women Judges and Magistrates were concerned about the length of time that it took for SGBV cases to be determined, the negative biases experienced by survivors of violence, the high rate of early termination of cases because either the survivors or witnesses failed to show up in court to avoid being intimidated and re–victimized or due to the perpetrator’s continued threats from within the communities and lack of preservation of forensic evidence,” said Justice Murgor.
While inaugurating the Small Claims Court in Kisumu, the Chief Justice stated that this was significant milestone for Mwananchi.
“This is a court that acknowledges that every claim, no matter how small, deserves its day in court. We recognize the significance of every dispute, every concern, and every injustice, no matter the monetary value,” she said.
The LSK welcomed the opening of the Small Claims Court in Kisumu. LSK President Theuri noted that it takes an average of 51 days to conclude a case in the Small Claims Court which is less than the statutory 60 days.
He lauded the adjudicators for the efficiency of the court