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Newly appointed High Court Judges to clear 12,000 cases in six months

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As of March 30, 2024, the total number of pending cases before the High Court was 68,121, which translates to 873 cases per judge.

The newly appointed 20 High Court judges sworn in by President William Ruto on Tuesday must clear 12,000 pending cases within the next six months.

Chief Justice Martha Koome said the goal is to cut the case backlog. As of March 30, 2024, she said, the total number of pending cases before the High Court was 68,121, which translates to 873 cases per judge.

“The judges will embark on a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) in seven divisions of the High Court at Milimani Law Courts to clear 12,000 cases within the next six months,” she said.

Koome added that plans were underway to extend the initiative to courts in the broader Nairobi Metropolitan Area, which accounts for a significant portion of the national case backlog.

“In the second phase of the RRI, we are targeting courts in the wider Nairobi Metropolitan Area, which accounts for 30 per cent of the national case backlog, to resolve an additional 9,417 cases,” she said.

Koome also addressed the pressing issue of prison congestion, saying judges had been deployed to oversee community service orders as one of the ways to reduce inmate populations.

She said that as of Monday, prisons were holding 62,639 inmates, more than twice the capacity of 30,000.

“Through a Rapid Results Initiative for community service orders, we aim to review sentences for those convicted of minor offences to align the inmate population with the capacity at the facilities,” the CJ said.

To ensure equitable access to justice in all counties, Koome announced the establishment of a High Court sub-registry in Wajir. She also said permanent High Court judges would be reinstated in Lodwar and Kapenguria, bolstering the judicial presence in the regions.

Koome further announced that the Judiciary had embarked on a review of the Constitutional and Human Rights Procedure Rules and Judicial Review Procedure Rules to ensure time-sensitive public interest matters are heard and determined promptly.

“We are grateful for the commitment of the President during the Summit for heads of the arms of government to support the expansion of the capacity of the Judiciary in the quest for expeditious disposal of cases. This includes the employment of an additional five judges of the High Court and 11 judges of the Court of Appeal,” she said.

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