NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Tuesday morning launched an online Judiciary Service Desk to receive reports on performance of judicial officials.
The help desk will provide a forum where clients and members of staff in the Judiciary could report complaints including those of unethical conduct, harassment and conflict of interest.
Users will be required to send a text message to 5434 or an email to email@example.com following a successful two month trial of the system.
The CJ insisted that the desk will purely be used to check service delivery.
“This office will not be used for witch-hunt nor for any ulterior motives; neither will it be used as a front for appeals or challenging judicial decisions. The office exercises administrative powers as by law entrusted upon the office of the Chief Justice and whenever need arises matters will be referred to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which exercises powers to discipline,” he said.
According to the CJ the service desk, which now transits from being manual to automated, will allow for improved service to the public; optimise the response time to requests and complains, build public trust, ensure transparency and increase the collaboration both internally and externally.
Mutunga also announced the appointment of liaison officers from the office of the judicial ombudsman to court stations across the country for decentralising complaint mechanisms and access to clients in all the counties.
“These officers have been trained on the functionalities of the service desk and hence complaints will be resolved in fixed timelines,” added the CJ.
A complainant will receive an alert acknowledging the delivery of the complaint within 10 minutes of submitting it, while the judicial officials will be expected to give a response on the status of the issue in question to the judicial ombudsman within 16 hours.
Mutunga who spoke during a ceremony to award those who had submitted the best courtroom designs after a recent campaign affirmed that the Judiciary will work tirelessly to ensure transparency in the delivery of justice.
He assured that future court designs will incorporate amenities that respond to the respective needs of the users.
“Access to justice has many components, a major component being access to physical contact with a court. Members of the public ought to access court facilities that are located at reasonable distances from their locality,” he promised assuring that court designs will be made friendly to the users.
Nairobi based architect Anthony Macharia emerged as the overall winner in the competition that has run for three months, scooping the Sh500, 000 award.
The CJ expressed optimism that the new courts will embody the new Judiciary that derives the power from the people, upholds equality and impartiality.
Among the concerns noted by the adjudicating panel in the various designs submitted was the need for courtrooms to be spacious, airy, having clear signage, clean separate washrooms for genders and enough lighting.