CJ Koome Suggest Considering Court Night Shifts to Minimize Case Backlogs

Chief Justice Martha Koome has recently stated that the Judiciary is considering opening some courts at night in order to reduce the backlog of cases and generate more cash for the government.

CJ Koome revealed on Friday during the unveiling of the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice report that the establishment of Small Claims Courts in the country had greatly contributed to the government coffers in the previous year, adding that the sector needed to be further exploited to yield more revenues.

Justice Koome stated that existing courts had poured more than Ksh. 1 billion into the economy in the previous fiscal year, and that if new courts were set up to run an extra three hours after the official closing of business, the Justice sector would achieve milestones.

“The small claims courts resolved 9,315 cases last year, releasing Ksh. 1.431 billion shillings into the economy.” After witnessing the revolutionary potential of ten small claims courts over the last year, we believe that having 100 small claims courts operational in the country will signal a watershed moment in the judicial sector’s efficiency,” Koome said.

“In fact, if we get enough support, we’re thinking at running a nightshift operation with certain adjudicators sitting from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Nairobi and Mombasa, which would be a first for any public sector institution in Kenya and the region.”

While noting that the operation would be the first on the African continent, the CJ stated that tapping into the space economically would distinguish the country’s judiciary in the investment section.

According to the CJ, a total of 404,312 cases were filed in 2021/2022, with 42% of these claims filed in five counties: Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kiambu, and Machakos. During the same time period, she stated that 678,697 cases were pending, with 336,426 cases lingering for more than a year.

“This will undoubtedly put our country on the route to claiming the continent’s top spot in terms of efficiency in commercial disputes, the solution thus increasing the country’s attractiveness as a business and investment destination,” she stated.

CJ Koome praised the construction of 11 new small claims courts and the appointment of 25 adjudicators in charge of them, claiming that they have resolved informal and less burdensome disputes worth less than Ksh. 1 million within 60 days.

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