Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia faces JSC

by Lawyer Wanz
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Today, senior counsel who is seeking to be the next Country’s Chief Justice is appearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) panel.

SC Fred Ngatia

Mr. Ngatia was born in 1956 in Laikipia County and holds the following academic and professional qualifications:

  • Master of Applied Philosophy & Ethics from Strathmore University (2019)
  • Master of Laws from London School of Economics, University of London (1984)
  • Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi (1979)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law (1980)
  • Admitted to the Roll of Advocates in 1980

Mr. Ngatia has an aggregate of 41 years experience in the legal profession:

  • Sole Proprietor of Ngatia & Associates from 1996 to date
  • Partner at Kagia & Ngatia Advocates from (1987 – 1996)
  • State Counsel/ Senior State Counsel at State Law Office (1980 – 1987)

The JSC is grilling the candidates for the position of Chief Justice and nine others for the position of Supreme Court Judge in a process that will end later this month.

Last week, five applicants were interviewed and included Justice Chitembwe Juma, Professor Patricia Kameri- Mbote, Lady Justice Martha Koome, Justice Marete Njagi and Senior Counsel Philip Murgor.

On Tuesday, Justice Nduma Mathews Nderi was before the panel.

All the 10 JSC commissioners – Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu (Supreme Court), Justice Mohamed Warsame (Court of Appeal), Justice David Majanja (High Court), Ms Olwande (Chief Magistrates Court), Macharia Njeru (Law Society of Kenya), Ms Ann Amadi (Judiciary Registrar), Mr Kihara Kariuki (Attorney General), Patrick Gichohi (Public Service Commission), Mr Felix Koskei (public representative) and Prof Olive Mugenda (public representative) – are presiding over the selection process.

The JSC Act stipulates that the process of recruiting a Chief Justice should be conducted transparently while factoring in the issues of gender, age, experience and regional balance, key elements that will determine who will form the next bench.

The Chief Justice is formally appointed by the President but is selected by the Judicial Service Commission in a competitive process and interviews.

The CJ must have at least 15 years as a legal practitioner.

Maraga, exited office on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 and handed over the instruments of power to Mwilu who is holding the position on an acting capacity until a substantive Chief Justice is appointed.

The Commission will interview the shortlisted persons before recommending a candidate for appointment by the President subject to approval by the National Assembly as provided for under Article 166 (1) of the Constitution. Article 167 (2) caps the tenure of Chief Justice at ten years but the holder of the office is required to exit office regardless of attaining the mandatory retirement age outlined in Article 167 (1).

The new Chief Justice will be Kenya’s 15 and third under the 2010 Constitution.

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