Capacity needs for players in the administration of Justice Judy Omange Registrar, High Court Outline of the presentation • Background and Context • The Judiciary today- gains and challenges • Capacity needs of players in the administration of commercial justice Background • Kenya ranks at position 136 out of 189 in Countries with ease of doing business • Factors taken into account in the ranking include, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency • The Judiciary plays a critical role across all indicators • The last two indicators of resolving insolvency and enforcement of contracts are directly the responsibility of the Judiciary • In these two crucial categories, the Judiciary scores at 137and 136 respectively • Issues under consideration include; • Filing and Service • Trial and Judgment • Enforcement of Judgment • It is therefore evident that the handling of commercial disputes and other disputes with an economic bearing plays a critical role in the growth of the economy • Where are we as a country? • Kenya Vision 2030 seeks to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030 • This will be achieved through the political, social and economic pillars • In respect to the rule of law the goal is to enact and implement the policy, legal and institutional framework vital for promoting and sustaining fair, affordable and equitable access to justice • Barriers to accessing justice are distance, technical procedures, capacity of Judicial Officers and staff, registries, vulnerable groups The Judiciary today • The enactment of the Kenya Constitution set the foundation for much needed Judicial reform • The Judiciary Transformation Framework provides the blueprint for Judicial reform • Four pillars of transformation Pillar 1 PEOPLEFOCUSED DELIVERY OF JUSTICE 3 KEY RESULT AREAS KRA 1 - Access to and Expeditious Delivery of Justice KRA 2 - PeopleCentredness & Public Engagement KRA 3 - Stakeholder Engagement Pillar 2 TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP, ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE, AND PROFESSIONAL AND MOTIVATED STAFF 4 KEY RESULT AREAS KRA 4 - Philosophy and Culture KRA 5 - Leadership and Management KRA 6 - Organisational Structure KRA 7 – Growth of Jurisprudence and Judicial Practice Pillar 3 ADEQUATE FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 2 KEY RESULT AREAS KRA 8 - Physical Infrastructure KRA 9 - Resources and Value for Money Pillar 4 HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY AS AN ENABLER FOR JUSTICE 1 KEY RESULT AREA KRA 10 – Harnessing Technology as an Enabler for Justice Gains so far • Increase in number of judicial officers across all courts. Judges of High Court have increased from 42 Judges to 92. • Expansion of courts to increase access. Number of High Courts up to 22 from 16 and increase in number of Magistrates courts to 117 • Specialized courts with status of High Court namely Industrial Court and Environment and Land Court have been set up • A representative Judicial Service Commission has been set up • Courts have not shied away from making landmark decisions Challenges • The courts continue to grapple with an increasing backlog • Last year the High Court cleared 26,502 cases which means each of the then sitting 80 Judges each cleared 331 cases the whole year • Considering that 54,602 new cases entered the system, the case clearance rate was 50 % • For the pending cases to be finalized the case clearance rate must be over 100% • As at end of July last year pending cases were 135,450 in High court alone • Service weeks have been used with some success. • However they were more successful in Criminal than in Civil cases • Important lessons for the bar- bench • What do the figures mean for the economy What do the figures mean? • Billions of shillings denied to the economy • The value of claims filed in the Commercial Division for one year, 2013 alone is Kshs 46, 232, 610, 491 What is being done • Classification of cases • Development of practice directions • Adoption of ICT • Streamlining registry procedures • Streamlining the execution process • Exploring use of court annexed mediation Players in Commercial Justice Parliament and policy makers Lawyers The Judiciary Business community Mediators Litigants Capacity needs • The work of Judges and magistrates need to be made more efficient by use of technology to digitize proceedings. The bar also need to embrace technology • Support systems need to be streamlined to ensure smooth case flow from the registry to the court and to the Judge • Modern infrastructure needs to be developed to ensure that the courts reach every corner of the country • The infrastructure should be able to create a working environment where disputes can be resolved with ease • Ultimately the Judicial officer is responsible for control of the trial process • Judicial officers require training in policies, processes and techniques through which their diaries and cases can be managed better • The Judicial officers should be supported by well trained staff in court operations and well empowered to discharge their duties • Judicial officers and lawyers handling commercial matters require specialized training on the complex evidence involving financial, economic, scientific and technological data • All stakeholders require training on Court annexed mediation which should be embraced as a possible solution to expedite delivery of justice • Parliament and policy makers need sensitization on the critical role played by the Judiciary and the necessity therefore for adequate resources to be given to the court • The business community and members of the public need sensitization on ADR • There needs to be sustained engagement between the Judiciary and private sector to ensure that the Judiciary responds to the demands of a growing economy • Ultimately all Court Users Committees ought to be sensitized on the importance of securing economic justice • Ultimately, the business community will remain a key stakeholder as their confidence in the Judiciary to determine commercial disputes in a fair and expeditious manner will contribute to the overall rating of the country as a business hub. • ‘Justice is what we discover when we walk together, listen together and even love one another in our curiousity about what justice is and where justice comes from.. ‘ Socrates • Thank you for your attention.