It is said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and Kenyans know this very well since cases take too long in court. A court cases can be expensive considering that lawyers usually charge fees based on among other things, the number of appearances made in the court on behalf of their clients.
The involved parties have to create time to attend hearings and it comes with extra expenses like transport and accommodation. Sometimes people give up and stop following up and in some unfortunate cases complainants die before they get justice.
Last month (July 2019) a woman bitterly screamed in court after a judge postpones conclusion of a 16-year-old land case . 54-year-old Jacinta Nduta is just one of many Kenyans who have been frustrated in the court corridors seeking for justice.
Approximately 45 per cent of the 327,928 backlog cases as at June 2018 had been before the courts for more than three years, with the Magistrate Court and High Court registering the highest overall backlog.
This is a worrying trend considering that the maximum desirable timeline that a case ought to have been finalised from the date of filing is one year.Any case that exceeds one year before a court is considered a backlog. Read the full report HERE
On August 19, 2019 Chief Justice David Maraga announced that the Judiciary has significantly reduced the number of cases pending in the court system in the last one year.
Speaking during the annual Judges colloquium in Mombasa, Chief Justice David Maraga said courts have managed to bring down cases that are five years old from 110,000 that were in the system last year, to only 15,278 cases.
The Chief Justice said strategies such as service weeks that were employed by the courts have enabled the success in case backlog reduction.
Read the whole speech HERE
What journalists can do
This provides an opportunity for journalists to follow up on some of the cases that had taken too long in court but were finally concluded because of these renewed efforts by the judiciary.
Find out the financial impact of the prolonged cases to the involved parties.
Find out some of the reasons why there is such a huge backlog, why some courts have too many pending cases compared to others and how this can be avoided in future.
By Carolyne Oyugi