, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Tuesday recalled all judicial staff previously assigned to the Municipal and City Courts.
Mutunga said the repeal of the Local Government Act, Cap 265 by the County Government Act 2012 had rendered the courts obsolete.
He said cases pending before these courts would therefore now be heard before the Magistrates’ Courts in various counties as will any new cases arising from new county legislation.
“By the authority vested in me under Article 262 (22) I have asked the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary to in their place post new magistrates,” he said.
The cases, Mutunga said, would also be designated a separate registry.
The Chief Justice who was speaking following a meeting with the Council of Governors (CoG) also proposed the formation of a consultative forum of judicial stakeholders to address proposals tabled by the CoG.
“The Council of Governors Concept Paper has made many important recommendations on how to strengthen the partnership with the Judiciary,” he explained.
Among them, he said, was the waiving of court fees for cases filed by the county governments and the sharing of court fines with the county governments.
And while the Chief Justice defined the waiving of court fees as important, “especially when viewed against the backdrop of the principle of equity and equality,” he said both proposals would require national government support.
“This would involve considering its legality with the national government as it touches on revenue collection. The current legal regime requires that all revenues collected by the Judiciary be sent to the Consolidated Fund,” he explained.
In the spirit of bringing Justice closer to the people, he in turn called on the county governments to provide the necessary infrastructure to house courts and judicial staff.
“The Judicial Service Act,” he referenced, “requires the establishment of a High Court in every county and a Magistrate’s Court in every district.”
He also called on counties to enact laws that will not present a constitutional challenge in an effort to avoid litigation and thereby, “reduce case workloads.”