CJ Koome Contemplating Longer Sitting Hours to Clear Backlog

Chief Justice Martha Koome is contemplating longer sitting hours to clear the backlog in the Judiciary.

Speaking in Mombasa on Monday, the president of the Supreme Court added that the opening of more Small Claims Courts will help expedite services.

She also noted that this way, cases will be finalized within 60 days.

“That is ringing a lot of music to many years, that actually their matter can be determined within 60 days, and once their case is heard, judgement can be delivered in three days,” said the CJ, adding that cases should not stay in trial for more than 3 years.

CJ Koome added, “When somebody keeps coming to court day in day out, they also suffer frustration and they suffer indignity.”

As for the appellate court, the CJ said with the right human resource, an appeal should not take more than a year.

Read: CJ Koome Posts New Court of Appeal Judges

“That is the imperative goal to have a bottom-up approach to access to justice is delivery of justice with dignity.”

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu in April launched the first small claims court to handle commercial disputes with a monetary value of less than Sh1 million.

The court was gazetted through notice number 3791 of 2021.

The Small Claims Act 2016 requires that all proceedings before a Small Claims Court are to be heard and determined on the same day or on a day-to-day basis until final determination.

Judgment should then be delivered on the same day or not later than three days from the date of the hearing. The Courts may also only adjourn the hearing of any matter under exceptional circumstances which circumstances must be recorded by the court.

A report released by former Chief Justice David Maraga in January 2020 showed that an average of 400,000 cases are filed annually while courts are able to dispose of about 300,000 cases a year. The caseload as at March 2020 stood at 569,859 cases.

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Written by Eva Nyambura

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