The Judiciary has significantly reduced the number of cases pending in the court system in the last 12 months, Kenya’s Chief Justice disclosed on Monday, 19 August 2019.
Speaking during the annual Judges colloquium in Mombasa, Chief Justice David Maraga said courts have managed to bring down cases that are five years old from 110 000 that were in the system last year, to only 15 278 cases.
The Chief Justice said strategies such as service weeks that were employed by the courts have enabled the success in case backlog reduction.
“Efficacious and efficient disposal of matters remains our core promise to the people we serve. Some cases take inordinately long to resolve. We must, therefore, never tire of interrogating the issue of backlog clearance,” the Chief Justice said.
Justice Maraga said all stations developed action plans aimed at bringing the case backlog down. He added the Judiciary was also looking at increased use of technology as a way of speeding up its work.
“So where are we now? As of June this year, the number of cases older than five years in all the superior Courts – the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) and the Environment and Land Court (ELC) – had come down to 15 278, no doubt a remarkable achievement on your part considering that this figure includes the cases that transited to the five-year band in the course of the clearance campaign,” the CJ said.
The Chief Justice urged judges to benchmark with courts that have had significant case backlog reduction in order to utilize the means and methods applied in the success in their own courts so that to achieve uniform case reduction across the country.
A survey by Judiciary reveals that unpreparedness of lawyers, police, and probation officers are main reasons behind case backlogs in courts countrywide.
In Kenya, the maximum desirable timeline that a case ought to have been finalised from the date of filing is one year. Any case that exceeds one year before a court is considered a backlog.