Lawyers petition Maraga, want judges posted in South Rift

Lawyers in South Rift want Chief Justice David Maraga to increase the number of judges handling environment, land, employment and labour relations matters in the region.

They say the region has the highest number of land related matters and needs more judges to help clear a backlog and speed up justice.

According to the Law Society of Kenya Nakuru Chapter, the shortage of judicial staff has stalled hearing of crucial matters.

“We urge the Judiciary to hire more judges to handle land and Labour matters that have delayed in court for more than a decade. In Nakuru, for instance, we have one Environment and Land court judge who is expected to handle more than 600 matters from Nyandarua, Naivasha, Nakuru, Narok and Kericho,” said Chapter President Frank Mwangi.

He spoke during a dinner organised by lawyers from the region on Saturday night.

Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero were among those who attended the event at Rift Valley Sports club in Nakuru town.

The lawyers petitioned the CJ and the Judicial Service Commission to post resident land Judges in Naivasha and Kericho to reduce the cost and the distance covered in getting access to justice and ease pressure on the Nakuru Environment and Land court.

Currently Justice Sila Munyao handles land matters from Nakuru, Narok, Naivasha, Nyandarua and Kericho.

According to Mr Mwangi, over 70 per cent of the pending cases at the Nakuru High Courts are related to land.

The lawyers also want postings of more Employment and Labour Relations judges in Nakuru and Naivasha.

Early this month, the JSC recommended the appointment of 28 judges. Nine of the judges are to be appointed to the position of Judge of the High Court while 19 are expected to join the Environment and Land Court.

In a statement by Commission Secretary Anne Amadi, JSC said it had found the 28 nominees suitable after evaluating all candidates who had applied for the positions.

Ms Amadi confirmed the nominees’ names had been forwarded to President Uhuru Kenyatta for formal appointment.

In September last year, then CJ Willy Mutunga established new courts in 14 counties and posted judges to the stations.

The new High Courts were set in Turkana (Lodwar), Marsabit, West Pokot (Kapenguria Law Courts), Baringo (Kabarnet Law Courts), Tana River and Taita Taveta (Voi Law Courts) counties.

Others were established in Laikipia, (Nanyuki Law Courts), Nyamira, Siaya, Tharaka Nithi (Chuka Law Courts), Migori, Kitui, Bomet and Kajiado.

Initially, people in places such as Mbita, Lunga Lunga, Kapsowar and Lokichar for example spent at least Sh600 to get to the nearest High Court, which was an expensive affair to many.

A person suing for compensation in Lunga Lunga near the Kenya-Tanzania border in Kwale County for instance, had to travel to Kwale town for a court case, more than 80 kilometres to the North.

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