The Chief Justice Martha Koome has directed Magistrates to complete cases in small claim cases within 60days, and ensure no case remains unresolved for more than three years.
The CJ who was addressing 64 new Magistrates sworn in yesterday said that this will help clear the backlog of cases “that have been a headache to the Judiciary.” Among them are 19 adjudicators who will be in charge of small claims courts.
“We therefore expect you to be the most engaged participants in our quest to reduce case backlog. We want to meet our targets by ensuring that no case remains unresolved for more than three years, which is still a lot,” she said.
The CJ said that in small claims’ courts, a case should not take 60 days and this is possible even in magistrates’ courts.
The CJ also warned the new Magistrates against being influenced not only by political and religious influences mentioned in their oath of office, but also to beware of influence from their friends and families.
She told the new judicial officials that nothing should come between them and the oath of office, nothing should stop them from dispensing justice to the public.
“You have now become missionaries of justice and this will mean putting your life to justice, integrity, professionalism and service…Therefore, make sure every ruling you make is just and fair,’’ said Koome, adding that, “the Constitution demands they be independent and accountable.”
The CJ also announced that the magistrates will be required to file performance returns on a daily basis, adding all files must be actively managed and cases of files lying in the registry unattended to would not be tolerated.
“All the files must be actively managed, no file should be left lying around. The file should be actively managed by a clerk, ensure that it has documents required for the matter to proceed, file has dates of hearing and no case remains in the system for more than three years,’’ she said.
The CJ further said that lateness would not be tolerated, employees must report on time and ensure cases commence at 9am.
On corruption, she said they are enforcing a policy of zero tolerance to corruption.
“We will deal swiftly and firmly with any allegation of corruption and these days it’s easy to nib corruption in the bud. That is why I say the career you have chosen is narrow and therefore you should uphold integrity if you want to build a career in Judiciary,’’ said Koome.
The new Magistrates will go through a one-week induction training before they are posted to their various stations.