Kenya: Coronavirus Slows Wheels of Justice Countrywide

Second hand clothes on display at a stall in Toi Market in Nairobi.

Chief Justice David Maraga has issued more directions to litigants amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a notice Tuesday, the CJ said all cases awaiting to be mentioned have been suspended for 30 days.

This means that all remandees will remain in custody for an extended time.

Mr Maraga also said that all litigants with cases having temporary orders should consider the reprieves extended and those with ongoing cases should file pleadings in court registries.

The CJ further said that new dates will be set for hearing and mentioning of cases on a priority basis as soon as the situation normalises.

At the same time, the Co-operative Tribunal has also issued guidelines for litigants to observe as precautions against the coronavirus.

"It is compulsory for all litigants to sanitise at the entry point using alcohol-based sanitisers provided by the tribunal. Tribunal assistants will ensure litigants comply," said the Secretary of the Co-operative Tribunal George Sirro.

The tribunal has also announced that all fresh filings have been suspended for two weeks except for very urgent matters which will be heard on Thursdays.

The notice indicates that all registry operations remain suspended until further notification but, there will be only two members of the staff present to attend to litigants, one at a time, to avoid crowds.

The Transport Licensing Appeals Board has postponed all its cases until further notice.

On Sunday, the Judiciary announced a scaling down of its activities in the wake of confirmation of Kenya's first case of the deadly coronavirus.

Mr Maraga said that court activities will be reduced for two weeks effective Monday to allow further consultations on the matter and the design of appropriate response measures.

The CJ said prisoners and remandees will not be presented to court for the two weeks.

"With regard to new arrests, all cases except serious ones will be dealt with at police stations in accordance with guidelines to be issued by the Inspector-General of Police," he said.

He added that all appeals, hearings and mentions of criminal and civil cases in all courts have been suspended with immediate effect.

Also suspended for two weeks is execution proceedings.

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