, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga says the appointment of 25 new High Court judges will help reduce a backlog of cases in various courts countrywide.
He says stations have already been identified where the judges will be posted, once the appointments are formalised by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“According to the State of the Judiciary Report which will be formally launched in the next few weeks, 116,754 new cases were filed across Kenya and a total of 190,093 cases were heard and determined by judges and magistrates. As part of this, the Judiciary is increasing the number of judicial officers to serve Kenyans and continue to reduce the case backlog,” he said.
Some of these stations are in the marginalised areas where he noted that the establishment of a justice delivery infrastructure is sorely needed.
In a bid to enhance judicial services to members of the public, Mutunga said the Judiciary will continue with its ongoing reforms.
He was speaking when he witnessed the admission of 100 new advocates to High Court on Tuesday, where he urged them to uphold integrity while delivering legal services.
“You join a noble profession – the law: a career that has a rare binary quality. Law is a discipline as well as an industry. It is an area of scholarly thought as it is an economic zone for private enterprise. You are under obligation to bring honour to the profession-and that is the meaning of the oath today. The mere admission to the Bar does not confer learnedness but, rather, commences it,” he said.
“You must stem the tide of the rise of the illiterate lawyer – one who is ignorant of the new discoveries in the arts and sciences that are taking place around him; one whose comprehension of public policy discourse is weak; and one whose preoccupation is dominated by primitive accumulation.”
He cautioned them that, “the legal profession can be a gateway to riches and a highway to prison. Further, the law can be used to advance social justice and human development or to subvert freedom, constrain liberties and aid oppression.”
The Law Society of Kenya Chairman Eric Mutua also warned the young professionals from engaging in unethical activities saying the society will not hesitate to undertake disciplinary measures.
“You will be dealing with issues affecting human beings and any mistake will impact negatively to the client,” he said. “You will make a lot of money but don’t allow this to compromise your work.”
He asked them to be champions of justice even as they seek to gain from the services they offer.
“Talk as lawyers when there is need… uphold the rule of law always,” he stressed.
Speaking during the forum, Court of Appeal Judge Kihara Kariuki also had advice for the advocates.
“Integrity is the most valuable attribute that must remain with you, to practice law is a calling and it’s more than earning a living,” he pointed out.