Chief Justice Martha Koome has marked her first year in office with the inaugural Judiciary National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

The event was attended by  colleague Judges, members of the Judicial Service Commission, Judicial Officers and Staff

During the event, the Chief Justice enumerated the achievements the Judiciary has made over the past year since she assumed office as the 15th Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya and the 3rd President of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

“I am delighted to report that over this one-year period, the Judiciary achieved a Case Clearance Rate (CCR) of 87 percent, with a total of 328,104 cases concluded, ” CJ Koome said, adding that,

“Our institution-building effort has picked up and I am happy to report that we have held very successful discussions to operationalize the Judiciary Fund, which is key to securing the financial independence of the Judiciary.”

While enumerating the key achievements realized under her tenure, Koome said the Judiciary police unit was established as the bid to revamp the judiciary also gained momentum.

“Another notable achievement is the establishment of a Judiciary Police Unit with 3,000 police officers, which is key to securing our court infrastructure, our personnel and court users. Our goal of revamping judicial education has also received a shot in the arm through the allocation of land (55 acres) which will enable us realize the long-held dream of establishing a home for the Kenya Judiciary Academy,” she added.

The COVID 19 pandemic also saw the judiciary leverage on technology with court cases heard virtually in various courts. This, Koome said has also birthed more partnerships with the judiciary and seen an expansion of court stations.

“We are leveraging on technology to enhance efficiency by working towards the establishment of fully functional e-courts throughout the country. The Judiciary has partnered with Huduma Kenya to operationalise Judiciary Desks at 52 Huduma Kenya centres “.

“We have expanded the Environment and Land Court to 37 court stations, and the Employment and Labour Relations Court to 11 court stations. We expect to expanded the reach of the High Court to almost all counties and re-established operations of the Court of Appeal in Nyeri”.

The Chief Justice lauded the move to increase the budgetary allocation to support the efforts undertaken by the judiciary

“I am extremely grateful for the increased budgetary allocation of Sh1 billion to Sh18.9bn from the previous year’s allocation of Sh17.9bn. I look forward to even more increased budgetary support considering the enormous task of institution-building required in the Judiciary”.

As the small claims courts continue to gain traction in the country, the Chief Justice was optimistic that up to 100 small claims courts will be established by December this year.

“We have a total of eight of the 13 gazetted Small Claims Courts operationalized and functioning in Milimani, Thika, Kajiado, Eldoret, Nyeri, Naivasha, Machakos/Makueni and Nakuru. My hope is to have 100 Small Claims Courts operational countrywide by the end of this year, ” Koome said.

“We established a special Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Court in Shanzu and are in the process of rolling out these courts to all the regions starting from Makadara Law courts in Nairobi. The Judiciary has also embraced and is entrenching alternative dispute resolution methods, specifically Court-Annexed Mediation and Alternative Justice Systems (AJS), ” Koome added.

As the country counts down to the August General Elections, Koome said the Judiciary  has also expanded the footprint of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) by decentralizing its operations to seven regions. This is in a bid to improve access to justice which had been hindered by centralized PPDT’s operations in Nairobi.