Kenya: Judiciary Ahead of Target in Clearing Case Backlog

The Judiciary has seen a significant improvement in dealing with case of more than five years, a new report reveals.

Chief Justice David Maraga said the courts have surpassed their target of clearing backlog of old cases in the last one year.

While launching the Judiciary's Performance Management & Measurement Report on Friday, the CJ pointed out that as at March this year, out of the 170,186 cases of this nature, 154,184 of them had been cleared.

This represented 91 percent of the backlog cases.

He also expressed concern that when cases take too long in the courts, parties involved end up frustrated and the judiciary's public image is tainted.

He therefore called on the judges, magistrates and judicial officers to strive in handling matters that go to court more quickly so as to shun the adage of justice delayed is denied justice.

"This therefore is more than just a ceremony to receive a report; it is an opportunity to evaluate and account to the Kenyan people about how we have fared in the execution of our core mandate, using a number of variables that are key to the delivery of justice," said Chief Justice Maraga.

He further asked judges and magistrates to stop postponing cases in court.

"For there to be enhanced public confidence in judicial services, certainty that matters will proceed on the date fixed for hearing is an absolute imperative, equally important is the date of delivery of judgements. Once a case is heard, a judgment must be delivered," he said.

RECOGNITION

At the event, CJ Maraga named and awarded certificates to the best performing courts.

The court based at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was feted as the Best Magistrates' court in handling criminal matters. Under the leadership of Magistrate Lukas Onyina, the court cleared all its backlog cases.

Elwak based court was the best among Kadhi courts, while Kakamega and Chuka led on speedy dispensation of justice in land cases.

The Milimani family division court, the courts in Kapenguria, Makueni, and Machakos were named as the best on reducing backlog at the High Court.

The Nairobi Court of Appeal civil division led the other appellate courts in hearing, determining and clearing backlog cases.

According to Mr Maraga the judiciary prioritised cases over five-years-old, conducted service weeks, adhered to pre-trial rules and used other dispute resolution mechanisms in order to achieve the set target and improvement.

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