Judiciary Short Narrative on the 2012/13 Budget Estimates
The 2012/13 Estimates seek a total resource sum of KShs 16.8 billion, which is KShs7 billion above the Treasury-set resource ceiling.
These estimates reflect the following 10 key constitutional, policy and legal requirements that the Judiciary must now meet:
1. Hiring of Judicial Officers (Judges, Magistrates, Kadhis) as required by law. In 2012/13, the total number of Judicial Officers will rise by 70%, from 451 to 726. This measure was taken by the Judicial Service Commission in order to reduce the huge case backlog and waiting period which sometimes amounts to a period of twenty (20) years. Recruitment processes for the majority of these positions is complete and they are set to report on 1st July. If the Judiciary does not obtain the requested funding we will be forced to cancel some of the contracts putting the Judiciary Service Commission in an embarrassing situation. It is important to note that this increase in the number of Judicial Officers is the single largest item that will impact the Judiciary budget when comparing 2011/12 with 2012/13. The unit cost in the Judiciary is pegged on a judicial officer and thus if the number increases there will be a proportionate increase in Q & M.
2. Infrastructure Development. The law requires the presence of a High Court in every county. The Judiciary has 17 High Court stations. The shortfall will be met within 10 years. The Judiciary is planning to build four (4) High Court stations during the year 2012/13. In addition, there are currently 111 Magistrate Court Stations out of the required 285. The Judiciary is planning to meet the shortfall in a 10 year plan. Four (4) have been earmarked for construction in 2012/13.
Other key requirements that must be met are:
3. Hiring of Technical Judicial Staff (Legal Researchers and Law Clerks) for every Judge as required by law
4. Hiring/Provision of the necessary Administrative Staff Support for every Judge as policy and practice demands. It should be noted that the current Administrative Staff Support vacancies are almost 50 per cent of the Authorised Establishment. This will be addressed over time.
5. Provision for Operational Tools for new Judicial Officers and Judicial Staff, which is reflected in a proportional increase in O&M to that in the number of Officers and Staff.
6. Fully operationalising the National Council for the Administration of Justice as required by law
7. Fully operationalising the Land and Environment Court as required by law
8. Bringing under the vote of the Judiciary, the Industrial Court (which currently falls under the Ministry of Labour budget vote). Additionally, this Court is being expanded from 5 to 15 Judges.Tribunals will also need to be brought under the Judiciary vote.
9. Providing for a fully operationalised Judicial Service Commission (including the Judiciary Training Institute), and establishing the JSC as a SEPARATE VOTE as required by the Constitution
10. Reinstating Development Expenditures placed in abeyance in consultation with Treasury in the 2011/12 financial year on account of an executive decision in the Judiciary to halt/rationalise ongoing court construction.
11. Providing initial O&M resources to sufficiently kick-start the Judiciary Transformation, including the launch of new operational, financial, human resource and document management systems.
The Judiciary enters the 2012/13 at a time when its reform path is transitioning from the first wave of institutional renewal that has taken place since the Constitution was promulgated in 2010 to a second wave of institutional transformation.
A Judicial Transformation Framework (JTF) now exists to reflect the requirements of the Constitution and the demands and expectations of the people of Kenya. Both a Strategic Plan and a Medium-Term Framework are in place to take forward the JTF. The 2012/13 Budget Estimates represent the first major opportunity to match intent with resources.
The Budget Committee’s foresight and leadership in 2011/12 re-established a basic budget for the Judiciary. For 2012/13, these qualities are in even greater demand as the Judiciary seeks the approval of this KShs 16.8 billion budget.