Enhanced access to justice at Makindu Law Courts
Makindu Law Court was established in 1998. It was constructed by members of the public through the “food for work” programme. The residents bought food and used the proceeds to buy bricks and construct the court. Before the construction of the court, litigants used to travel over 125km to Machakos Law Courts to receive court services. Makindu Law Court is one of the four courts in Makueni County.
On 31st January 2019, a new modern court in Makindu was opened by the Hon Chief Justice, David Maraga accompanied by the Hon Governor for Makueni Prof. Kivutha Kibwana. This new court was constructed with support of the World Bank through the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP). The new building has the new building has four court rooms, spacious registries, adequate offices for the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Police and Prison officers amongst other justice sector stakeholders. The building has segregated cells for men, women and juveniles, lactating room and ramps which contribute towards improving quality services to the people.
As at January 2017, the court had 637 cases which were over 5 years. By December 2018, the court had cleared all cases that were over 5 years. From the 1,804 criminal cases filed, the court resolved 1,635 cases. The court filed 233 civil cases and resolved 544. The clearance rate for criminal cases is 81%, civil cases clearance rate is 238% while the clearance rate for traffic cases is 97%. The rate at which the court is clears the cases that are filed (Case clearance rate) is clear indication that the court is hearing cases faster than they are being filed, decreasing the likelihood of clearing backlog.
Criminal cases handled by the court involve wildlife crime, robbery with violence, road traffic offences, offences under the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, recourse conflicts defilement, child offenders etc. Civil cases include running down (suits for compensation for personal injuries) land cases, defamation etc.
Addressing the community the Hon Chief Justice, David Maraga echoed concerns by the local leaders of the prevalence of the rape and defilement cases. He cautioned the community on the offence warning that conviction leads to stiff sentences including life imprisonment.
The Judicial Performance Improvement Project is supporting construction of 29 courts across the country geared at increasing access to justice and enhancing service delivery.