Judge refuses to hear cases over small font

A High Court judge is on the spot for declining to issue directions in cases that come before her because of the type in suit documents.

Justice Roselyne Aburili declined to give directions in a case in which a company involved in lotteries sued over the 50 per cent gambling tax.

Bradley Trading, a major shareholder in SportPesa, has challenged the increase of taxes levied on betting companies. It sued Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Attorney-General Githu Muigai, Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery and the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

The matter was filed under a certificate of urgency.

However, when the judge was expected to give directions on whether she would issue temporary orders, she asked the firm to file fresh documents, because the font size used was not “appropriate”.

“The applicant is directed to file reader-friendly pleadings for the court’s consideration,” said Justice Aburili. “I decline to consider the small fonts.”

She directed the firm to file fresh documents with font size 14 and with further specification of the required spacing.

“We enclose herewith the said pleadings in larger fonts as directed,” said the company’s lawyers, from the firm of Muturi Mwangi & Associates.

This is not the only case in which the said judge has issued such a directive. She issued similar directions in a land dispute case filed by Karaini Investments, who have sued the National Lands Commission.

“I decline to consider it for reasons that the fonts used for typing pleadings or documents is too small to be read,” said Justice Aburili then and directed the party to file “reader-friendly pleadings”.

This has been seen as a deliberate attempt at slowing the wheels of justice for those moving to court with urgent matters but have to wait longer for directions as they have to prepare the case documents afresh with “reader-friendly fonts”.

The judge is, however, also known for raising other issues for not hearing and determining cases — such as not having the pen she is used to when doing her work.

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