Report: Covid affects overall performance of Judiciary

Makueni, Milimani Civil Division and Nakuru High Court Stations have been named some of the best-performing in the country.

A Performance Management and Measurement Understandings Evaluation Report 2019/2020 launched on Justice Thursday by Chief Justice Martha Koome also ranked the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu and Nakuru as leading in performance. Others are  Meru and Kisii High courts.

Garissa and Voi Kadhis’ courts emerged as the top performers. The six best performing Magistrates’ Courts were Limuru, Marsabit, Mombasa, Engineer, Tononoka Children’s Court and Gatundu Magistrate’s Court.

Kiambu High Court posted was the best in hearing and determination of civil cases within 360 days of filing.  The court achieved 77.9 per cent while Meru and Nakuru High Court achieved 62 per cent and 50.4 per cent respectively. The Cooperatives Tribunal and National Environment Tribunal (NET) were named the best performing Tribunals.

The report highlights the achievements of 279 units that negotiated and signed their targets and were evaluated between October and December 2020.

It further assessed the overall performance of the Judiciary pegged on key indicators such as timely hearing and determination of cases filed, the productivity of judges and judicial officers, backlog reduction, case clearance rate and timely delivery of rulings and judgments.

The results show that the overall Judiciary performance score for all implementing units was 89.79 per cent a decline of 2.54 per cent from 92.35 per cent achieved in the previous year compared to 92.35 per cent in 2018/19.

The decline of performance in several performance indicators includes case resolution, case clearance rate and reduction of case backlog.

Chief Justice Martha Koome noted that the performance results were attained against the backdrop of the Covid -19 pandemic which affected normal operations of courts.

She assured Kenyans of exemplary service delivery from the Judiciary which she said is determined to eliminate case delays and backlog in efforts aimed at making courts centres of excellence. “We shall continue building on a well-functioning, independent, efficient, accessible and responsive Judiciary, premised on accountability for results”.

Judges productivity

Generally, there was a decrease in judges/judicial officers’ productivity across most of the court levels.

Court of Appeal bench productivity increased from 161 to 215 cases while all the other court levels witnessed a decline in productivity while that of the high court decreased from 400 cases recorded in the previous year to 264

However, in the period under review, the courts resolved a total of 289,728 cases representing a 38 per cent decrease from 469,359 resolved in the previous year.

The case clearance rate dropped from 97 per cent achieved in 2018/19 to 86 per cent in 2019/20 while the backlog of cases older than one year increased from 337,403 to 359,347 cases respectively.

“These performance results were attained against the backdrop of the Covid -19 pandemic which affected normal operations of courts. There were instances where the courts were either shut down completely or partially shut with scaled-down operations as the pandemic spread across the country. Some judges, judicial officers and staff were not spared either” explains the report.

In the year under review, Supreme Court resolved a total of 76 cases. This was a decrease from 89 cases resolved in the previous year 2018/19.

The court reduced the overall case backlog from 41 cases recorded at the end of 2018/19 to 37 cases at the end of the financial year under review whereas a total of 2,620 cases were filed in the Court of Appeal while 1,147 cases were resolved. By the end of the financial year 2019/20 there were 7,523 cases pending cases in the Court of Appeal.

A total of 2,620 cases were filed in the Court of Appeal while 1,147 cases were resolved. By the end of the financial year 2019/20 there were 7,523 cases pending cases in the Court of Appeal. Nairobi achieved an overall score of 88.11 per cent while the Nairobi Court of Appeal, Criminal Division achieved an overall score of 75.86 per cent

At the high court stations and divisions, a total of 22,735 cases were resolved, a decrease from 30,695 cases resolved in the previous year.

The overall case backlog increased by 9.1 per cent from 63,433 cases recorded at the end of 2018/19 to 69,184 cases.

 

  

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