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17 more candidates to face JSC panel this week

Monday June 24 2019

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) members led

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) members led by Chief Justice David Maraga at Re-Insurance Plaza in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 during the recruitment of Court of Appeal judges. The commission is seeking to recruit 11 judges. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The ongoing interviews for Court of Appeal judges enter the second week on Monday as 22 judges and 11 advocates battle for the 11 vacant positions.

So far, 16 candidates have been interviewed with the Judicial Service Commission faced with the hard task of picking from a high calibre of persons, including professors.

The commission has to adhere to gender, ethnic and regional balance in filling the positions.

Justice Hedwig Ong’udi, who was the first to head the anti-corruption division of the High Court, will be the first to face the panel on Monday.

Others slated to be interviewed on Monday are Justices Hellen Omondi, Joseph Sergon and lawyer Prof Nixon Sifuna.

CASE BACKLOG

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Last week, Justice Florence Muchemi told the commission that her experience, integrity and hard work are some of the qualities she boasts of as she seeks to join the appellate court.

Justice Muchemi, who has been a judicial officer for 35 years, said he was happy to have cleared a backlog of cases at the High Court in Embu.

She said one of the key reasons for achieving the feat was her restriction to adjournments and unnecessary delays.

She added that she surpassed her targets in 2018 but her ratings came down to 48 percent this year although she protested and after a review, the rates increased to 67 percent.

Justice Muchemi said she is a team player, and if she is successful to join the Court of Appeal, she will respect the opinions and decisions of her colleagues.

The judge said her celebrated case was a matter filed by Legal Resource Foundation, in a matter challenging the fee charged for a P3 form.

ARBITRATION MATTERS

Justice Francis Tuiyott told the JSC that in his view all arbitration matters should end at the High Court.

He said parties should appear before the High Court to adopt, enforce or to set aside the arbitration award but the decision should be final and binding.

Dr Kipkoech Chebii, the dean of law school at Moi University, said he will enrich the Court of Appeal with his area of expertise, especially on environment and comparative law.

Asked by vice chairperson of the commission what he thought of a proposal to introduce a three-year time limit before a divorce can be filed, Dr Chebii said couples should be allowed to end their unions without restrictions.