Judiciary wants budget doubled to Sh43bn for automation, expansion

Chief Justice, Martha Koome. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The Judiciary is seeking to have its budget for the next year's financial year (2023/24) doubled to Sh43 billion to cater for the establishment of new courts, automation of court processes, recruitment of more judges and clearance of case backlog.

The Judiciary’s budget allocation in the current financial year (2022/23) is Sh20.997 billion of, which Sh19.097 billion was for the recurrent expenditure and Sh1.9 billion for the development vote.

According to its Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget report for 2023/24 to 2025/26, the Judiciary says the total resource requirement for the forthcoming financial year (2023/24) stands at Sh43.17 billion.

From this, a sum of Sh35.81 billion is the requirement for recurrent expenditure while Sh7.36 billion is the budget for development.

The projected increase in recurrent expenditure is to cater for, among others, the facilitation of special benches and circuits, mobile courts, purchase of motor vehicles for judges and court stations, recruitment of judicial officers and staff and operational and maintenance costs.

Resource requirement for the development vote for FY 2023/24, which stands at Sh7.36 billion, will go towards the completion of ongoing capital projects.

In the current financial year, the budget was increased by Sh2.7 billion following President William Ruto’s declaration to upscale the Judiciary’s budget for the next five years.

“The increment has been factored in the outer years to support the implementation of Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ) and the government’s bottom-up economic transformation plan,” reads the report.

The projected recruitment under the MTEF period is 96 judges, 494 magistrates, 233 other Judicial Officers and 1,994 Judicial staff.

The Judiciary’s proposed budget ceiling from the exchequer in the forthcoming year is Sh23 billion, hence there is a resource gap of Sh19 billion to meet the required funds.

Among the development programmes that Judiciary plans to undertake in the forthcoming financial year is the construction of a new Supreme Court building, a new Court of Appeal Complex and 15 magistrates’ court buildings.

It also targets to establish 20 new small claims courts up from eight in the current financial year and also set up four tribunals’ sub-registries.

For the Small Claims Court, which was established as an avenue for expediting the resolution of disputes that are below Sh1 million in value within 60 days of filing,

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