Chief Justice David Maraga wants the Legal Aid Act amended to allow the Judiciary control funds to provide free representation to poor Kenyans.
Speaking in Tana River County after officially opening Garsen High Court, Justice Maraga said the Judiciary lacks full control of the funds allocated to the legal aid kitty, which is administered by the office of the Attorney General.
“This has posed great challenges and we urge the legislature to amend the Act with a view to putting the fund under the Judiciary,” he added.
Justice Maraga said the legal aid funds will go along way in addressing the challenges faced by ordinary Kenyans in accessing justice if controlled by he Judiciary.
The CJ was responding to leaders in Tana River County who requested that he consider establishing a budget of at least Sh1 million per county to cater for free legal services.
The leaders, including Governor Hussein Dado and former Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana told the CJ that many locals could not afford to hire advocates to represent them in courts due to high charges
“I have been practicing lately and my experience is that many Kenyans get stranded at the court corridors because they cannot raise money to pay for legal services,” said Mr Mungatana, an advocate.
His sentiments were echoed by Governor Dado who said most of his county’s residents were unable to afford legal fees.