Judiciary shuts down in Covid zoned counties

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Judiciary shuts down in Covid zoned counties


MWILU

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has shut down courts, tribunals and all registries in the five counties that President Uhuru Kenyatta declared Covid-19 infested areas and imposed a cessation of movement.

Justice Mwilu said physical hearings in Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru will remain closed to the public until further notice.

She, however, directed that any matters requiring a hearing during the period be done virtually.

In Nairobi, urgent cases will continue to be filed using the e-filing system that was launched by retired Chief Justice David Maraga last year. 

The e-filing will run every weekday from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.

The platform will also be rolled out in Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Nakuru.

Criminal cases

The deputy CJ ordered that all criminal cases be held virtually in the five counties.

“The presiding judges and heads of stations/divisions in consultation with their bar-bench and court users’ committees shall issue guidelines to address any unique issues arising in their jurisdictions,” she said.

The Covid-19 safety protocols that were issued in March last year by Mr Maraga and the National Council of Justice Administration (NCJA) will continue to be adhered to in all the other courts in the 42 counties.

The Judiciary scaled down its activities in the wake of the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in the country, in March last year. Mr Maraga later launched e-filing and virtual hearings, which courts adopted to speed up hearings.

In line with the work-from-home directive by President Kenyatta, Justice Mwilu said all judicial stations in the zoned area should submit weekly rota to the Chief Registrar and ensure that only 30 per cent of staff are in the office at any given time.

“Like all other sectors, the Judiciary and the rest of the criminal and civil justice agencies were asked (by the President) to take immediate action to eliminate non-essential physical contact or situations within our areas of mandate that may lead to crowding or the propagation of the disease,” said DCJ.

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