Kenya: Judiciary Ombudsman's Office Named Top Performer in New Index

Nairobi — The Office of the Judiciary Ombudsman has been ranked the top semi-autonomous panel in the latest performance index released on Friday.

The body headed by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu processed all complaints it received during the review period according to the 2017/18 Performance Management and Measurement Understandings Evaluation (PMMUE) report.

The office also disseminated over 7,000 information bulletins on complaint management and judicial processes.

The Supreme Court Registry led by Esther Nyaiyaki was named the overall best registry during an award ceremony presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga, the performance management report citing user-friendly library facilities and an efficient case management system.

The Directorate of Internal Audit and Risk Management under the leadership of Ronald Wanyama was named the best performing directorate having audited 39 court stations.

"The Directorate achieved 'very good' performance grade. This Directorate audited 39 court stations and continued with monitoring the implementation of internal audit report recommendations," a citation read.

The Nairobi Court of Appeal (Civil Division) under Presiding Judge Philip Waki attained a case clearance rate of eighty per cent to be named the best performing Court of Appeal.

The High Court Family Division in Milimani was rated the most efficient High Court filing a backlog clearance rate of 73 per cent clearing some 11,493 cases from a total 0f 16,995 pending matters.

The Justice Aggrey Muchelule-led court was among seven High Court stations recognised for posting exemplary results.

The Chuka Environment and Land Court under Justice Peter Njoroge posted a case clearance rate of 308 per cent in the caseload category of 200 and below.

The Makueni High Court formerly under Justice Charles Kariuki determined 69 per cent of civil cases within 360 days to emerge the best in the caseload category of 201 to 500 cases.

The Kapenguria High Court under the leadership of Justice Stephen Githinji achieved a 205 per cent clearance rate in the caseload category of 200 cases and below.

Justice Pauline Nyamweya who was later succeeded by Justice George Odunga in Machakos delivered 76 per cent of all her judgments within sixty days from final submissions by parties to emerge the overall best in the caseload category of above 500 cases.

The Mombasa Employment and Labour Relations Court under Justices James Rika, Onesmus Makau and Lady Justice Linnet Ndolo reduced its case backlog by 18 per cent to emerge the top Employment and Labour Relations Court in the caseload category of 500 cases and above.

Kakamega's Environment and Land Court under Lady Justice Nelly Matheka reduced its backlog by 74 per cent topping in the caseload category of above 200 cases.

Seven Magistrates' Courts were also feted for posting best results in various categories under the 2017/18 review period.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport-based Magistrates' Court under Lukas Onyina cleared its entire backlog attaining a 100 per cent reduction rate to be named the best in handling criminal matters.

The Hola Magistrate Court under Alloyce Ndege delivered 96 per cent of judgements and rulings within 60 days of conclusion of hearings to emerge the top in the category of 500 cases and below.

Wundanyi Magistrates' Court led by David Ndungi posted a productivity rate of 866 cases in the caseload category of 501 to 1,000 cases.

Robinson Ondieki's Kilifi station topped the caseload category of 1,001 to 2,000 cases.

The Meru Magistrate Court achieved a 237 per cent clearance rate of civil matters under Hannah Ndung'u.

Theresa Nyangena's Milimani Children's Court was ranked the best performing court on management of children's matters having achieved a productivity rate of 933 cases during the period under review.

Nakuru Magistrate's Court under Geoffrey Oduor cleared 49 per cent of its backlog from 21,649 to 11,105 cases.

Three Kadhis Courts were also honoured with the Elwak station under Hussein Mohamed Hassan posting the best performance in the caseload category of 300 cases having achieved a 93 per cent hearing and determination rate within 360 days.

The court had a productivity of 148 cases.

The Mombasa Kadhis Court under the Chief Kadhi Al-Muhdhar Hussein was the best in the caseload category of 300 cases with a hearing and determination rate of 74 per cent.

The Nairobi station under Rashid Ali Omar cleared 76 per cent of its backlog topping the backlog clearance category.

The PMMUE 2017/18 report assessed 674 judges and magistrates manning over 120 court stations across the country.

During the Friday launch, the Judiciary reiterated its call for enhanced funding to reduce what Chief Registrar Anne Amadi termed an expanding staffing gap that continued to slow down the delivery of justice.

She said the current combined judges and magistrates' population of 674 was insufficient given the over 500,000 cases pending in various courts.

"With the current number of pending cases, on average each judicial officer has 821 cases to deal with if the matters were to be equally shared out. In a year with 365 days when we take out weekends, public holidays and leave, we're left with about 230 working days to hear and determine 821 cases per judicial officer," she said.

Amadi observed it would take the judicial officers four years to clear 533,187 cases pending in various courts, a situation that is untenable with the projected increase in the number of new cases being filed.

"Our judges to population ratio needs to expand exponentially even as we review our work methods and accelerate automation. This requires resources," she said.

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