World Bank Ends Ksh12 Billion Judiciary Funding

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    Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome
    File
  • The World Bank announced that the Ksh12 billion Judiciary Performance Improvement Project (JPIP) funding, which began in 2014, will come to an end in October 2021. 

    The global financial institution has been the Judiciary’s major funder, aiding improvement in four key areas including Court Administration and Case Management, Judiciary Training and Staff Development, Court Infrastructure and Project Management.

    It has also been instrumental in the development of manuals and Standard Operating Procedures for many of the Judiciary’s internal processes, including significant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) support. 

    The project supported the first and most comprehensive assessment of the Judiciary’s workload, which helped determine the total caseload in the institution which was previously unknown.

    Newly built Nanyuki Law Courts
    Newly built Nanyuki Law Courts
    File

    “These systems and especially e-filing and the case management system enabled us to quickly pivot to e-filing and online court hearings following COVID-19 outbreak. The project introduced and entrenched performance management which has enhanced transparency, accountability, and overall service delivery. The courts are measured against indicators such as case clearance, backlog reduction and timely delivery of judgements," stated the CJ during a meeting Wednesday, August 18 with Keith Hansen, the World Bank Country Director for Kenya.

    “It has been the single largest investment in the development budget of the Judiciary. To date, the project has disbursed over 84 per cent of the funding with the balance committed in ongoing contracts.”

    She added that the project has been instrumental in the transformation of the Judiciary in meeting the aspirations of the public as envisioned in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. This can be seen through officials training which has improved and enhanced efficient service delivery. 

    The project has increased access to justice for Kenyans with the construction of 13 new High Courts in Kitui, Chuka, Vihiga, Nyamira, Nanyuki, Isiolo, Kakamega, Nakuru, Kajiado, Siaya, Kapenguria, Maralal and Makueni, and a new Court of Appeal in Nakuru. Eight Magistrates Courts were also constructed. 

    Under JPIP, the Judiciary further adopted Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms as required by the Constitution and has been using court-annexed mediation since 2017 with over 9,000 cases referred to mediation.

    The project also gave support to Court User Committees at the court level, which is chaired by the heads of courts and includes other actors in the justice system like the prosecution, police, prisons and probation officers.

    Koome called for continued collaboration with the World Bank to enhance efficient disposal of cases and broader access to justice for all Kenyans, full digitisation of the Judiciary and completion of a Human Resource census to establish skills gaps and needs within the Judiciary.

    In May 2021, while assuming office, the CJ and other officials called for the Executive to increase Judiciary funding. Her legacy, she announced, would be built on her championing for additional funding to the Judiciary. 

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    Newly built Kakamega Law Courts
    File

    “As an institution that generates Ksh3 billion annually, this revenue can be an important first step in addressing some of the challenges we currently face,” the CJ stated as she called for the operationalization of the Judiciary Fund to address some of the budgetary gaps.

    On Thursday, August 19, Google committed Ksh100 million (USD1 million) to improving access to justice through enhanced connectivity for the Judiciary. Google’s Director for Eastern Africa, Agnes Gathaiya, stated the program being implemented through the ICT Ministry will aid in the digital migration of courts across the country.

    The Judiciary support is part of Ksh547.5 million (USD5 million) pledged by Google Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, during a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier this year for Kenya's economic recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In her comments, Chief Justice Koome noted that one of the key pillars of her vision on ‘Social Transformation through Access to Justice’ is harnessing the use of technology in the delivery of justice.