Clear backlog of lawsuits

Sunday July 14 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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One issue that Chief Justice Maraga has paid a lot of attention to since taking charge of the top judicial office is the clearance of the huge backlog of cases that makes a mockery of the delivery of justice.

As the old adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied. Having innocent people locked up for several years before their cases are heard and determined is a huge punishment. However, once accused of an offence, it is only fair that the suspects go through due process.

But even for those who are guilty, being kept in suspense for long periods is unfair. Speedy determination of cases is good for all.

Some cases have not been concluded five or so years since they started. CJ Maraga early in his tenure set targets for the courts to clear the old cases, and this seems to be working.

NEW COURTS

Another notable achievement has been the expansion and construction of new courts across the country in an effort to bring justice closer to the people. In the past, many people wasted time and money travelling far away from home for the hearing of their cases. With support from the World Bank, some good progress has been made in the expansion and construction of new courts.

There are 56 construction projects going on in the country.

And there could have been no better opportunity for the CJ to update the country on the progress that has been painstakingly made than during the official opening of the Vihiga Law Courts in western Kenya the other day. In the past year, some 1,800 criminal and 390 civil cases were filed at this facility.

IMPROVEMENT

But most importantly, 94 per cent of the criminal cases were concluded within 360 days. This is a big improvement over the national average of 84 per cent.

This is commendable, but it is just a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do. The judicial officers across the country must double their efforts to ensure that justice is speedily dispensed at all times.

The only way to restore public confidence in the judicial system is to boost the capacity for speedy determination of cases.

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