MOMBASA– Kenya Court of Appeal judges have gathered for a retreat in the port city of Mombasa to deliberate on the vision of the court with a view to improving service delivery, digitization of court procedures, judicial ethics, court management and mediation as well as emerging and conflicting jurisprudence in labour-related issues.

The judges from Nairobi, Malindi, Nyeri and Kisumu will also focus on management of electoral disputes resolution appeals process and strategies to clear case backlogs in the court during the three-day retreat which began Wednesday.

The newly elected President of the Court of Appeal, Justice William Ouko, identified improving court operations, building a robust and more harmonious jurisprudence and enhancing stakeholder engagement and participation as some of the priority areas that the court will pay attention to in improving court efficiency.

He said it was important to realize the courts vision of achieving a fair, consistent, expeditious, professional and efficient Court of Appeal. I am glad that this retreat will receive the statistics and discuss in detail the strategies and mechanisms to address the current backlog which stands at over 1,607 cases, Judge Ouko said.

At any rate, strict implementation of existing Case Management and Practice Directions and the adoption of the policy of first-in first out, will ensure the orderly disposal of cases.

He said that through the systematic implementation of information technology systems, the court will create an e-Court in every court station and paperless registries to enable litigants and counsel to file and submit documents on-line.

Judge Ouko added that the system will enhance court operations, including the record and document management system, case allocation and tracking system, and recording and transcription of court proceedings.

He said building a strong stakeholder engagement is vital to ensuring an efficient administration of justice, as feedback from them, helps in planning, identifying areas for improvement.