After more than 18 months of virtual hearings, physical court proceedings are expected to henceforth resume throughout the country.
This follows a directive from Chief Justice Martha Koome instructing Judges, Magistrates, Kadhis, Chairs, and Members of Tribunals to facilitate the transition to in-person sessions.
The CJ indicated that her decision was informed by the improving covid situation in the country that has seen a tremendous slump in the number of registered positive cases.
“Due to the drop in covid-19 positivity rate, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, the Honorable Uhuru Kenyatta, EGH during his Mashujaa Day address to the nation on 20th October 2021, lifted the nationwide curfew, which was in place as a containment measure of the pandemic,” She said
“This is, therefore, to direct that with effect from the date of this memo, all courts shall operate from Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm unless otherwise authorized by the Chief Justice,” She added.
The CJ however noted that the court sessions must ensure strict adherence to the covid-19 mitigation guidelines issued by the ministry of health on social distancing, proper wearing of masks, and sanitization.
She further directed regular fumigation of court premises. She however asked judicial officers to use technology whenever necessary in the course of their duties.
The directive from the Chief Justice, however, appears to have displeased some quarters. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) criticized the order to resume physical sessions terming it ill-conceived.
“Madam CJ doesn’t recognize the leadership of LSK just like CJ Hancox. Her decision is not based upon sound advice. The online hearing platform is viable for the disposal of mentions, applications, and simple hearings. No need for physical Court appearances save for complex cases.” LSK President Nelson Havi said in a tweet.