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Employment and Labour Relations Court

The Judiciary > Employment and Labour Relations Court


The Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) is established under Article 162 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The Court is operationalised under the Employment and Labour Relations Court Act No. 20 of 2011. It is a specialised court with the status of the High Court. According to Section 29 of the Act, the Court is required to ensure reasonable, equitable and progressive access to judicial services in all counties. Currently, the Court is established in seven stations, namely; Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Kericho, Nyeri and Eldoret. In addition, there are eight (8) sub-registries located in Malindi, Machakos, Bungoma, Garissa, Meru, Kisii, Voi and Kitale.

Jurisdiction of the Court

The Court has original and appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine all disputes relating to employment and labour relations. These include:

  1. disputes relating to or arising out of employment between an employer and an employee;
  2. disputes between an employer and a trade union;
  3. disputes between an employer’s organisation and a trade union’s organisation;
  4. disputes between trade unions;
  5. disputes between employer organisations;
  6. disputes between an employers’ organisation and a trade union;
  7. disputes between a trade union and a member thereof;
  8. disputes between an employer’s organisation or a federation and a member thereof;
  9. disputes concerning the registration and election of trade union officials; and
  10. disputes relating to the registration and enforcement of collective agreements.

The Court can grant conservatory, declaratory, injunction, compelling and compensation orders.

It can also make interpretation and enforcement directives.

Applicable Laws

In exercise of its jurisdiction the Court is governed by the Constitution of Kenya and various statutes including: Employment and Labour Relations Court Act No. 20 of 2011, Employment Act 2007, Labour Institutions Act 2007, Labour Relations Act 2007,Fair Administrative Action Act No. 4 of 2015, Civil Procedure Act Cap 21, Magistrates Court Act Cap 10, Mediation Act… Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007, Work Injury and Benefits Act 2007, National Social Security Fund Act, National Health Insurance Fund Act and Industrial Training Act CAP 237 among others. The practice and procedure of the Court is regulated by the Employment and Labour Relations Court (Procedure) Rules, 2016.

Composition of the court

The Court consists of the Principal Judge, Judges, Registrar, Deputy Registrars and judicial staff. The Principal Judge is elected by Judges of the Court for a renewable term of five years. He/she is responsible to the Chief Justice for the overall administration and management of the Court.

The Registrar is appointed by the Judicial Service Commission and is responsible for the day-to-day administration and management of the Court. According to the Employment and Labour Relations Court Act 2014, the Registrar, Deputy Registrars, and other officers of the Court exercise powers and perform duties as may be conferred upon them by the Act, the rules of the Court or any other written law.

The Registrar and Deputy Registrars are responsible for the administration and management of stations, case management, supervision and coordination of the operations of the registry, human resource and administrative support to Judges. They also perform judicial functions pursuant to the provisions of the law and account for any service in respect of which monies have been allocated. Judicial staff provide administrative support to ensure that the Court achieves its core mandate.


Pursuant to Gazette Notice No. 6024 of 22nd June 2018, Magistrates of the rank of Senior Resident Magistrates and above were appointed by the Chief Justice as Special Magistrates designated to hear and determine the following   employment and   labour   relations   cases   within   their respective areas of jurisdiction-

  1. Disputes arising from contracts of employment (excluding trade disputes under the Labour Relations Act, 2007) where employees’ gross monthly pay does not exceed KShs. 80,000.00 as commenced and continued in accordance with the Employment and Labour Relations Court (Procedure) Rules, 2016.
  2. Matters relating to the following specific areas—
  3. Offences under the Work Injury Benefits Act, 2007
  4. Offences under the Employment Act, 2007
  5. Offences under the Labour Institutions Act, 2007
  6. Offences under Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007; and

Offences under the Labour Relations Act, 2007.


The court shall consist of;

  1. The Principal Judge; and
  2. Such number of Judges as the President may, acting on the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission, appoint
  • The Principal Judge shall be elected in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 165 (2) of the Constitution.
  • The Principal Judge shall hold office for a term of not more than five years and shall be eligible for re-election for one further term of five years.
  • The Principal Judge shall have supervisory powers over the Court and shall be answerable to the Chief Justice.
  • In the absence of the Principal Judge or in the event of a vacancy in the office of the Principle Judge, the Judges of the Court may elect any other Judge to have and exercise and perform the powers and functions of the Principal Judge, and who shall be deemed to be the Principle Judge.
  1. Mr. Justice Byram Ongaya – Principal Judge
  2. Lady Justice Maureen Atieno Onyango
  3. Mr. Justice Mathews Nderi Nduma
  4. Lady Justice Monica Wanjiru Mbaru
  5. Mr. Justice Marete Njagi
  6. Mr. Justice Jorum Nelson Abuodha
  7. Lady Justice Hellen Seruya Wasilwa
  8. Mr. Justice Stephen Okiyo Radido
  9. Mr. Justice James Rika
  10. Lady Justice Linnet Ndolo Ngume
  11. Mr. Justice Onesmus Ndumbuthi Makau
  12. Mr. Justice Nzioki Wa Makau
  13. Hon Lady Justice Baari Christine Noontatua
  14. Hon Mr Justice Gakeri Jacob Kariuki
  15. Hon Lady Justice Keli Jemima Wanza
  16. Hon Lady Justice Mwaure Ann Ngibuini
  17. Hon Mr Justice Matanga Bernard Odongo Manani
  18. Hon Lady Justice Rutto Stella Chemtai
  19. Hon Mr Justice Kebira Ocharo
  20. Hon Lady Justice Kitiku Agnes Mueni-Nzei
  21. Hon Mr Justice Nderitu David Njagi



Milimani Commercial Court

Ngong Road, Upper Hill Close, Nairobi

P.O. Box 30420 – 00100, Nairobi

Telephone: +254  0730 182 000

Mobile: 0730 181 000/1800



Employment and Labour Relations – Report of the Inaugural Employment and Labour Relations Annual Symposium and Exhibition – ELRASE
ELRC Registry Manual
ELRC Procedure Rules
ELRC Service Delivery Charter
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