The Judiciary is one of the three State organs established under Chapter 10, Article 159 of the Constitution of Kenya. It establishes the Judiciary as an independent custodian of justice in Kenya. Its primary role is to exercise judicial authority given to it, by the people of Kenya.
The institution is mandated to deliver justice in line with the Constitution and other laws. It is expected to resolve disputes in a just manner with a view to protecting the rights and liberties of all, thereby facilitating the attainment of the ideal rule of law.
The Judiciary and its related institutions (Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Kenya Law; previously National Council for Law Reporting (NCLR), Tribunals and the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI) perform the following functions;
1. Administration of justice
2. Formulation and implementation of judicial policies
3. Compilation and dissemination of case law and other legal information for the effective administration of justice
The judicial system in Kenya is defined by 15 articles spanning from Article 159 (judicial authority) to article 173 (Judiciary Fund) contained in the new constitution of Kenya.
In Kenya, the courts under the Constitution operate at two levels, namely; Superior and Subordinate courts.
The Court system has been decentralized with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal having their own Presidents and the High Court having a Principal Judge as heads of the respective institutions.
The Supreme Court of Kenya is established under Article 163 of the Constitution of Kenya. It comprises of Seven judges: the Chief Justice, who is the president of the Court, the Deputy Chief Justice, who is the deputy to the Chief Justice and the vice-president of the Supreme Court and five other judges. The Court of Appeal is established under Article 164 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
The High Court is established under Article 165 and it consists of a number of judges to be prescribed by an Act of Parliament. The Court is organized and administered in the manner prescribed by an Act of Parliament. The Court has a Principal Judge, who is elected by the judges of the High Court from among themselves.
The High Court has also been restructured into four divisions: Division of Land and Environment; Division of Judicial Review; Division of Commercial and Admiralty; and, Constitution and Human Rights Division.
The subordinate courts are established under Article 169. They consist of the Magistrates’ Courts, Kadhis Courts, Court Martial, and any other court or local Tribunal established by an Act of Parliament.
To deliver justice fairly, impartially and expeditiously, promote equal access to justice, and advance local jurisprudence by upholding the rule of law
To be the independent custodian of justice in Kenya