NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has warned that the reduction of budgetary allocations to the Judiciary risks denying the institution the ability to dispense justice to Kenyans.
LSK President Allen Gichuhi expressed his displeasure with Parliament’s actions to reduce funding for the Judiciary, saying the House had violated the Constitution as the move was unlawful and misinformed.
“The negative impact of budgetary contractions impacts the government’s commitment to constitutionalism, promotion of the rule of law and ensuring access to justice for all. It is a clawback on gains already made and a disservice to the nation as the powers of the Judiciary are derived from the people as espoused in Article 159 of the Constitution,” he said while proposing there be a minimum and adequate percentage of budgetary allocation to the three Arms of Government.
At the moment, the Judiciary budgetary allocation (2018/2019) of Sh14.5 billion translates to only 0.47 per cent of the total national budget (Sh3.074 trillion).
“The Law Society of Kenya calls upon Parliament and Senate to urgently reconsider the issue of funding of the Judiciary, other Commissions and Independent Offices,” the LSK President noted.
He said that the budgetary cuts will impact access to justice and defeat the fight against corruption.
The lawyers’ lobby added the action may also erode investor confidence in the Judiciary because commercial disputes may take long before they are settled.
“As you with no doubt know, the Judiciary under Article 159 of the Constitution plays a critical role in conflict resolution and the delivery of justice ‘to all’ and ‘without delay’ through ‘reconciliation, mediation, arbitration and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.’ These three basic principles of the Constitution will be gravely compromised without adequate funding,” he stated.
Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday protested the decision by the National Treasury to reduce the Judiciary budget by Sh5 billion affecting 70 per cent of projects.