The Law Society of Kenya has issued a press statement concerning the Judiciary budget cuts and appointment of Judges. The statement obtained by Courtroom Mail was released 29th October 2019 and signed by the President of the LSK. It read:
RE: JUDICIARY BUDGET CUTS AND APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES
We wish to express our concerns on behalf of the members of the Law Society of Kenya and the public generally on the current issues touching on the operations of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice.
The Judiciary is an arm of state that exercises judicial authority derived from the people as espoused under Article 159 of the Constitution. We have in the recent past witnessed attempts by the Executive to interfere with the independence of the Judiciary through the actions by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya of failing and/or delaying the appointment of 41 judges recommended by the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) on
the 14th of August, 2019.
Similarly, on the 24th September 2018, the Acting Cabinet Secretary National Treasury & Planning Hon. (Amb) Ukur Yatani issued circular No.14A on the proposed drastic reduction on the Judiciary’s Recurrent and Development budget by Kshs.1.493 billion and Kshs.1.404 billion respectively. This essentially has amounted to a 50% reduction in critical budgetary provisions that are essential to the Judiciary’s operations.
In line with its mandate, to advance the rule of law and administration of justice, the Law Society of Kenya has taken the following measures on these two issues of public concern:
- On the 16th October 2019, the Council issued a press statement highlighting the consequences of the Circular Number 14A issued by the Acting Cabinet Secretary National Treasury. The Council called upon the Acting Cabinet Secretary to recall
the Circular and suspend its implementation within seven days.
- The Law Society of Kenya also requested His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya to exercise his Constitutional mandate as required under Article 166 and formally appoint the judges to ensure more effective operation of the courts.
- On 25th October 2019 after the expiry of the 7 days’ notice, the Council of the Law Society of Kenya instructed Ms. Aluso Ingati, Advocate of the firm of Ms. Aluso Ingati & Associates Advocates together with Prof. Bernard Sihanya, Advocate to file
Constitutional Petition number 425 of 2019 Law Society of Kenya Versus Cabinet Secretary Treasury & others challenging the implementation of the circular No.14 A.
The application was heard by Hon. Justice J. A. Makau on the 28th October 2019 and issued the attached orders.
- On 25th October 2019, the Law Society of Kenya, through Ms. Maria Mbeneka, Advocate of the law firm of Kimani Kabucho Mbeneka & Company Advocates together with Mr. Evans Ogada, Advocate filed an application seeking to have the Law Society of Kenya joined as an interested party in Constitutional Petition Number 369 of 2012 Adrian Kamotho Njenga Versus AG and others. The application will be heard on 12th of November 2019.
We shall keep you informed of the progress made on both matters even as we continue
to urge the Government to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution and engage the Judiciary as an integral arm of the state with a view to arriving at a reasonable solution, that will enable the Judiciary carry out its mandate without crippling its operations and mandate to deliver on one of its key pillars which is access to Justice and timely disposal of disputes.
We wish to thank the Counsel representing the Law Society of Kenya in both matters.