Chief Justice Maraga: Hiring new judges derailed by lack of funds


Chief Justice Maraga: Hiring new judges derailed by lack of funds
File Photo: Chief Justice David Maraga

In Summary

  • Chief Justice David Maraga has said the shortage of Environment and Land Court judges is unfortunate since about 80 per cent of civil litigation in the country involves land and succession issues.
  • The Chief Justice spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga on Thursday.
  • The CJ urged Kenyans to make greater use of Court Annexed Mediation, which is being rolled out throughout the country, as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism rather than always resorting to courts.

Chief Justice David Maraga has complained of lack of adequate funds to tackle the shortage of Environment and Land Court (ELC) judges in the country.

Maraga said this shortage of ELC judges has resulted in clog-up in the processing of cases in the country.

In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday from the Directorate of Public Affairs and Communication, Maraga said the shortage of ELC judges was unfortunate since about 80 per cent of civil litigation in the country involves land and succession issues.

The Chief Justice spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga on Thursday, adding that the requirement by the 2010 Constitution for the creation of specialised courts had made the situation worse because High Court judges cannot be assigned Land and Environment duties.

“This is one of the issues Kenyans should reconsider should the opportunity to review the constitution arise. While I respect the spirit of the Constitution that created these special courts, the reality on the ground is that this is impeding service delivery because other High Court judges cannot hear land matters and yet these constitute the majority of litigation,” said CJ Maraga.

“When court users ask for a Judge, what they mean is actually a Land and Environment Judge. I have had occasion to be told ‘thank you for bringing us a judge, but please take him away until you find one who can hear land matters.’”

According to the statement, Maraga – in a subsequent meeting with members of the Law Society of Kenya – said every county should have two Environment and Land Court judges, adding that budgetary constraints have impeded the hiring of the required personnel.

The CJ urged Kenyans to make greater use of Court Annexed Mediation, which is being rolled out throughout the country, as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism rather than always resorting to courts.

“Succession cases should not always be dragged to court. These cases involve brothers and sisters and their disagreements are best handled through mediation so that they remain friends even after the case is over,” said Maraga.

Justice Maraga is on a tour  of  Nyeri and Nyandarua Counties. On Thursday, he inspected construction of courts in Nyeri town and Mukurweini.

He is set to lay the foundation stone for the Ol Kalou High Court in Nyandarua County on Friday.

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Story By Martin Munene
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