JSC kicks off recruitment drive for new Appellate Court judges


Chief Justice David Maraga (centre) accompanied by other members of the Judicial Service Commission while addressing the media. PHOTO | Kanyiri Wahito | NMG

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has began the search for eight new judges to the Court of Appeal to replace those about to retire.

In a notice published in the dailies yesterday, the JSC invited applications from qualified persons to be submitted no later than September 11 this year.

The Constitution requires that each judge of the Court of Appeal shall be appointed from among persons who have at least ten years experience as a superior court judge, or similar experience as a distinguished academic or legal practitioner or such experience in another relevant legal field.

The Judges, who are constitutional office holders, will serve and retire at the age of 70 years with an option to retire on attaining the age of 65 years.

Acute shortage

The top Kenyan court has been hit by a shortage of justices against the constitutional threshold of 30 judges for the past five years.

The deficit was further heightened by the promotion of Justice David Maraga and Justice Philomena Mwilu to the positions of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively.

Last year, Justice James Otieno Odek was deployed as the director of the Judiciary Training Institute during a shakeup presided over by former CJ Willy Mutunga.

The retirement of Judges John Walter Onyango Otieno, John Mwera and Festus Azangalala also created a huge vacuum and work log for the remaining serving judges.

The JSC had also not plugged a vacuum created in the superior courts after the removal of Judges Emmanuel O’kubasu, Riaga Omollo, Samuel Bosire and Joseph Nyamu after they were found unsuitable to hold public office.

Ambitious transformation plan

Judiciary sources indicate that more than three judges of the Court of Appeal are also about to retire and who are part of between 19 and 20 judges serving in Nairobi, Kisumu, Nyeri and Mombasa stations.

The planned recruitment of eight new Appellate Judges is part of Justice Maraga’s ambitious plan to revamp the judiciary which also includes creation of new superior court stations to bring justice closer to Kenyans.

During his tour around the country last year, Justice Maraga stated that eight counties will have new High Court stations and at least one magistrate’s court in all the 290 sub counties by next year.

He said the Judiciary had constructed High Court stations in 25 counties since 2010 when only 14 counties had High Court stations, bringing the total number of stations to 39.

“That is why as part of my blue print and agenda, I have committed to the establishment of High Court stations in all the remaining eight counties that do not have and one magistrate’s court in all the 290 sub counties in the country,” he said.