CJ Koome orders judges to prioritise clearance of case backlog

by Wakili Liam
Chief Justice Martha Koome

President of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Martha Koome has challenged judicial officers to play an active role in the country’s quest to eliminate backlog of cases in court.

While acknowledging that this was the most common complaint raised by Kenyans, the CJ lamented that backlog of cases has occasioned huge delays in the delivery of justice.

“You must work to meet our target of ensuring that no case remains unresolved in a Trial Court for more than three (3) years.” She directed the Judicial officers

“I issued a circular directing that all hearings must commence no later than 9am….We also expect to deliver rulings and judgments within the stipulated timelines,” She said

To realize this goal, Koome said judges and magistrates are expected to communicate in time and give adequate notice to litigants and advocates whenever the normal court schedule is to be interrupted.

According to Koome, judicial officers must at all times ensure that they champion and embrace the tools and work methodologies geared towards improving efficiency and performance in the delivery of justice. She wants members of the judiciary to especially leverage technology, and timeously submit daily performance returns that are key to the performance evaluation and management.

To improve performance, she noted that the judicial officers must adopt active case management.  Under her watch, Koome noted that Judiciary will move away from an era when the pace of movement of cases was left to the dictates of advocates and litigants.

“It is now expected that once pleadings are closed, judicial officers and registry staff should ensure that a file is not left idle in the registry but should be under action until conclusion and closure.”

“We also expect you to be the defenders of our “no adjournment” policy that is geared towards ensuring that matters are heard to conclusion once set down for hearing.” She said

Speaking during the swearing of resident magistrates, at the Kenya Judiciary Academy Tuesday, Koome said judicial duty demands effective time management, diligence, and excellence in customer care.

She challenged the new magistrates to be diligent in starting their court sessions on time.

At the same time, Koome who is also the President of the Supreme Court disclosed that the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission are mainstreaming the idea of “judicial hygiene” as they enforce a policy of “zero tolerance” to corruption within the Judiciary.

“We will deal swiftly and firmly with any allegations relating to corruption. Thus, you must be ready to walk the straight and narrow path of integrity if you want to build a career in the Judiciary.” She warned

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