Judges, magistrates to work in one station for three years

All judges and magistrates will be transferred from their work stations every three years to prevent them becoming too familiar with aocates and prosecutors.

A new transfer policy for the judicial officers says that the different kinds and complexities of cases will also give them different exposure and experience as well as equal opportunities to experience the benefits and challenges of serving in different areas.

The transfers shall be effected by the Chief Justice three months before the expiry of the three-year period. The current stations form the basis of the next posting.

“The normal approximate tenure of posting for each judicial officer shall be three years save for extreme hardship stations where the tenure shall be two years,” the policy says.

“The Chief Justice may, where necessary, retain a judicial officer in one station for no more than five years.”

Judiciary spokesperson Naim Bilal had previously said no clear and categorical policy existed on the length of stay in one station.

The new policy will see the judges and magistrates shuttle across the 13 region courts which are Nairobi, Mt Kenya region, Lower Eastern, South Rift, North Rift, North Nyanza, South Nyanza, Busia-Bungoma region, Kakamega, Coast region, Upper Eastern, North Eastern and Embu region.

The High Court judges and magistrates will be allowed to swap their posting but this will have to be approved by the Chief Justice.

The transfers will disrupt familiarity with those who interact with the courts including lawyers, litigants, police, prosecutors and the public, which may lead to bribery and corruption, the policy says.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has stepped up efforts to rid the Judiciary of corrupt practices and the transfer policy will add to the new measures introduced to curb the vice.