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Judiciary extends reach of justice beyond physical boundaries

Chief Justice Martha Koome

The Judiciary is embracing technology and harnessing its potential to ensure that justice is done swiftly, transparently, and impartially.

Speaking during the launch of Ol Kalou Law Courts complex, Nyandarua High Court, Nyandarua ELC and E-filing system, Chief Justice Martha Koome said the launch of e-filing in Nyandarua marks the tenth County to adopt the digital initiative as the Judiciary extends the reach of justice beyond physical boundaries in the country.

She said that e-filing, coupled with virtual courts and the Case Tracking System, forms a critical cog in the digitisation agenda adding that through these technological advancements, Judiciary is reducing the bureaucratic bottlenecks that have historically plagued the justice system.

“This is not just an advancement in technology, but a quantum leap in accessibility and efficiency within our justice system,” the CJ said.

She added: “No longer will our people be hindered by geographical constraints or the burden of time-consuming journeys to physically submit pleadings and legal documents to courts.”

She said the Judiciary is bridging the gap between the people and the courts and at the same time eliminating physical barriers, reducing the cost of seeking justice, and bringing services directly to the people wherever they may be.

“The process will now be as straightforward as a click of a button, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. E-filing is an assurance that the pillars of justice stand tall and firm in the digital age, ensuring that justice remains within everyone’s reach,” said the Chief Justice.

Observing that the Judiciary’s e-filing system is already integrated with the Uadilifu system of the ODPP she noted that the institution is pursuing a collaborative approach, through which its working with other actors in the justice sector to ensure that no one or institution is left behind.

Chief Justice Koome however urged Kenyans to embrace a multi-door approach to justice saying that it broadens the perception of justice, accommodating alternative forms of dispute resolution that are more effective, conciliatory, and efficient in delivering justice.

She emphasized the importance of Court-Annexed Mediation and the Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) noting that these mechanisms are vital cogs in the justice machinery.  She added that they offer a platform where parties in dispute can come together to discuss their issues candidly, fostering understanding and providing an avenue to craft mutually beneficial solutions.

“Particularly for cases involving family disputes, land disputes, and commercial disputes, these alternative platforms offer a chance to reach amicable resolutions that preserve relationships and promote harmony,” CJ Koome said.

She however cautioned that issues relating to the defilement of children do not fall within the remit of AJS saying such cases should be referred to the police and the courts for it to be dealt with as a criminal offense. She said the Judiciary is steadfastly laying the foundation for a child-friendly justice system that seeks to protect young ones from harm.

With regard to SGBV cases, Chief Justice Koome said the Judiciary is actively working to transform courts into trauma-informed sanctuaries that stand in solidarity with victims of such heinous crime and warned that any one perpetrating these barbaric acts will be met with the full force of the law.

She said the Judiciary is keen on collaborating with County Governments as partners in the quest to increase the Judiciary’s footprints particularly in the area of getting land to be allocated and developing physical infrastructure to house courts in constituencies that do not have court stations already.

Speaking at the same function, Nyandarua Governor Kiarie Badilisha noted that for the longest time, inaccessibility to justice has led to inordinate delays in court cases which has inevitably led to denial of justice

He explained that in other instances, litigants have resulted into extra-judicial mechanisms which is a threat to the rule of law and cohesion adding that with the establishment of a High Court in the county, this is now resolved.

He said the court will have a profound impact on the people of Nyandarua county in their pursuit of justice and on their economy adding that the establishment of Nyandarua High court is a moment of great celebration and fulfillment of a dream and the struggle that their forefathers fought for.

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