His Excellency President Dr William Samoei Ruto presided over the launch of the Administration of Justice in Kenya Annual Report 2021/22, an inaugural report of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ).
The President said the efficacy of our justice sector – whether and how we uphold the rule of law and administration of justice – is key to the performance of the institutions of our political economy. He said public confidence has risen steadily, with more and more Kenyans seeking to access justice and majority expressing satisfaction in the services provided.
“Since the establishment of the NCAJ more than 11 years ago, it has been gratifying to witness its steady growth and maturation of constituent organisations.” President Ruto said.
He explained that the impressive transformation of the sector is by no means inadvertent adding that it is rather, the outcome of effective coordination of relevant actors on a consistent basis. He said this successful model holds important lessons for other sectors in effective approaches to coordinating diverse actors to achieve far-reaching sectoral reform.
Saying that it is time to also enhance criminal justice system reforms the President said that apart from credible and expeditious due process, criminal justice must evolve to catch up with best practices and respond to the common sense of basic fairness.
President Ruto added that the NCAJ’s strategic emphasis on the enhancement of access to justice by vulnerable groups is commendable.
“Every endeavour to advance the interests of children guarantees a strong future for our nation. Our children, therefore, matter and the NCAJ’s efforts are especially commendable.” The President said.
President Ruto commended the NCAJ model of grassroots service delivery – the CUC saying CUCs are focal points in a democratised, bottom-up justice system reform process.
Chief Justice Martha Koome said since its inception in 2011, the NCAJ has provided a platform for actors in the justice sector to design responses to the challenges within the justice sector. This has seen a proliferation of policies, guidelines, and manuals.
She said the report presents an account of the programmes and activities of the NCAJ and its Agencies, identifies challenges, recognises opportunities and makes recommendations for ensuring access to justice for the people of Kenya.
“The success achieved in the period is attributable to the collaborative and consultative approach adopted by actors within the justice sector, which has contributed to the more efficient and effective delivery of justice,” the CJ said.
She added: “At the heart of NCAJ lies the Court User Committees (CUCs). This novel approach is now increasingly recognised at the regional and international levels as a best practice in the Administration of Justice.”
The CJ said at the grassroots level, CUCs were instrumental in unlocking barriers to the administration of justice. Most of them devised very effective case clearance innovations enhancing the overall performance of our justice system.