CJ Koome focuses on bottom-up approach to transformative justice

Chief Justice Martha Koome speaks to Justice Kathurima M'inoti during the opening of the 2nd Annual Tribunal Symposium at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa on June 28, 2021.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Justice Koome said the bottom-up approach demands special interventions and measures in consultation with all judicial officers.

Chief Justice Martha Koome has called for a bottom-up approach in the quest for equal access to justice, informed by a changing environment in which Kenyans and investors expect quality, efficient and cost-effective service delivery.

CJ Koome said Monday that she will make the Judiciary efficient in delivering services, all the way from magistrate’s and Kadhis courts, to tribunals and superior courts, including the apex court.

“The experience a litigant should have before the Supreme Court should be the same in all the courts below. Every court station will strive to be a centre of excellence in the delivery of justice. It is not only the apex court or superior courts that should strive for excellence,” she said.

She spoke at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa County, where she opened the three-day 2nd Annual Tribunals Symposium.

Unique innovations

Justice Koome said the bottom-up approach demands special interventions and measures in consultation with all judicial officers.

 She asked the Supreme Court to be the pacesetter and the model for this excellence.

“The main focus is speedy delivery of services by clearing the backlog of cases. We in the Supreme Court must clear our own backlog,” she said.

“We should allow court stations to come up with unique interventions such as their own case management systems to improve efficiency in service delivery.”

She cited shared leadership with each judicial officer encouraged and supported in innovating and adopting measures to increase his or her efficiency in collaboration with the court users.

Case timelines

The CJ hinted that commercial, anti-corruption and economic crimes courts may soon operate at night to be able to deal with the backlog of cases.

She asked them to “be innovative with time'' and adopt “night court” shifts for sittings between 5pm and 8pm, to ensure good performance and timely resolution of cases.

“I also look forward to opening more small claims courts in low-income areas to reduce the distance litigants travel to access services, especially in the cities. The end result should be that no court case should stay in a trial court beyond three years and in an appellate court beyond one year.”

CJ Koome also noted the need to preserve dignity and ensure no discrimination.

“Coming to court day in and day out makes one suffer indignity,” she said.

“Let us play our part by being truthful patriots and serving selflessly in order to lay a solid foundation for enhancing justice through tribunals for future generations,” she added.

Tribunals are established to provide easy, affordable, speedy and specialised forums for resolving disputes.

They play an important role within the justice system by reducing pressure on the courts and helping with the quick resolution of commercial cases.