Court directs SRC and JSC to talk over magistrates pay row

chief justice

Chief Justice Martha Koome. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

A judge has directed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Judicial Service Commission (SRC) to hold talks and resolve judicial officers' pay row.

Justice Nzioki wa Makau said a proposal by the JSC through a letter in December last year would see the reduction of basic salaries of magistrates and kadhis, which he said would be illegality.

The SRC had in December reviewed the allowances of judges and magistrates, but the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association challenged the decision saying the review would result in the reduction of the basic salary of the judicial officers.

“The parties are hereby directed to hold a dialogue with a view to resolving the issue,” the judge said while quashing the letter by the SRC.

In a letter to the JSC in December last year, SRC increased allowances for judges and magistrates following a case filed by KMJA in January 2019. 

In the new changes, the Court of Appeal judges will be paid a maximum of Sh1,156,108 up from Sh1,122,759. High Court judges will now earn a maximum of Sh1,000,974 up from Sh907,279.

The letter further indicates that chief magistrates will earn Sh732,000 up from Sh650,253 set in 2017.

Senior principal magistrates will earn Sh485,000 up from Sh480,000 while principal magistrates will be receiving Sh365,000 up from 360,000.

Senior resident magistrates will be earning Sh329,000 up from Sh300,000 and a resident magistrate will be getting Sh195,000 from Sh190,000.

The SRC has also raised the monthly non-practicing allowance for judges from Sh13,000 to Sh20,000, while magistrates and Kadhis got Sh15,000, up from Sh10,000.

The commission also enhanced risk or security allowance for magistrates and Kadhis to Sh20,000 a month from Sh15,000. Judges do not enjoy security allowance because they have police guards.

But the Association went back to court arguing that the changes would reduce their basic salaries.

Justice Makau directed the hold talks with plans to settle it out of court. The judge directed the two commissions to mention the case in September to confirm progress.