Crisis as Court of Appeal suspends sittings outside Nairobi

Crisis as Court of Appeal suspends sittings outside Nairobi
Justice William Ouko

The Court of Appeal has suspended its sittings held outside Nairobi due to lack of enough judges.

President of the Court of Appeal Justice William Ouko said the move will take effect from January 13, 2020 which is the date of commencement of the court’s new term.

“With this distribution, the court in Nairobi with nearly 3,000 appeals and applications can only mount two benches, a far cry from internationally accepted ratio. As the court prepares to proceed on its Christmas recess, and in view of the evolving circumstances, it has become necessary to revisit the decentralization of the court as it is currently not tenable,” his statement reads.

According to him, at the time of the decentralization there were 27 Judges with three deployed to each station in Malindi, Kisumu and Nyeri.

The rest (18) remained in Nairobi, due to the heavy caseload, the Court of Appeal President said.

However the number has gradually shrunk to 15 following retirement of several Judges, appointment of others to (other) higher Government offices, and this week, the sudden death of Justice James Otieno Odek.

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The sittings at the Nyeri Court of Appeal were suspended indefinitely in August due to shortage of judges.

There were three judges in Nyeri but when Justice GBM Kariuki retired and was not replaced, only 2 were left; a third one to constitute the bench would always be brought in from Nairobi.

When reshuffles later took place, Nyeri received two judges but Justice Roselyne Nambuye was recalled to Nairobi.

Justice Daniel Musinga was taken to Malindi to constitute a full bench there and Nyeri was left without judges.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal President said judges in Mombasa and Kisumu will relocate to Nairobi with effect from January 13.

“The affected court stations, including Nyeri will be served from Nairobi through circuit sessions conducted once a month to each station,” he added.

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Story By Paul Ombati
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