, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has commissioned the Judiciary Leaders Advisory Council (JLAC) to spearhead judicial reforms within the different departments in the institution.
Mutunga said that the primary mandate of the council would be advisory in nature and support of the Chief Justice in establishing judicial policy for effectively implementing administration of justice in Kenya.
“It is imperative that the Chief Justice be able to consult with leaders at different levels of the judicial function and to get appropriate advice in order to further the proper administration of justice,” observed Mutunga.
The CJ urged the council to use the myriad of problems experienced within the Judiciary last year as reference points for reforms.
“The delinking policy and the professionalisation of the administrative cadre are not intended to subsume or supplant the judicial function. On the contrary, great lessons should be derived from the crisis that we as a Judiciary faced last year to better ourselves and services,” he added.
He further advised the council that they were working for the benefit of the public and urged that the judicial and administrative arms of the institution work together and maintain mutual respect.
The Chief Justice explained that the council had been constituted in a manner that makes it representative and takes into account gender balance in its composition.
The advisory council will be chaired by Mutunga, Justice Paul Kihara Kariuki, President of the Court of Appeal as the Vice Chairman and Justice Richard Mwongo as the Secretary.
Other members include Justices Hannah Okwengu, Mumbi Ngugi and Chief Magistrate Teresia Matheka.
A report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) late last year indicated that there had been a significant increase in public confidence in the Judiciary.
According to the commission’s head Patricia Nyaundi, this was as a result of the judicial reforms that have been undertaken.
Under the framework, the Judiciary wants to improve on its delivery of services, have a transformed leadership and a motivated staff.
The report noted that under the same framework, the Judiciary had increased the number of mobile courts thus decreasing the cost of accessing judicial services for public interest cases.
In the last financial year, budgetary allocation to the Judiciary increased to Sh16.1 billion compared to Sh15.4 billion previously allocated.
“The sector requires enough money so that it continues carrying out the identified constitutional, judicial and police reforms,” she said.
However, this is below the estimated amount of Sh24.1 billion requested by the Judiciary.
The report recommended the State to enhance security in the refugee camps while still respecting the human rights of refuges and the general public.