THE Judiciary

Subordinate Courts Overview 

The Subordinate courts are the courts established under Article 169 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

(a)The Magistrates’ Courts

(c)The Court Martial and


As a court of first instance, the magistrates’ court has jurisdiction and powers in proceedings of a criminal nature as are for the time being conferred on it by

(b)Any other written Law.

(b)   Civil Jurisdiction

(a) Seven million shillings for a Chief Magistrate

(c) Four million shillings for a Principal Magistrate

(e)Two million shillings for a Resident Magistrate

Special courts have been established to hear and determine matters filed therein.

(a)The Anti-corruption Court

 The above courts are manned by magistrates gazetted for that purpose by the Honourable Chief Justice. Magistrates Courts also have jurisdiction to hear and determine traffic matters in the manner provided for under the Traffic Act, Cap.403 of the Laws of Kenya.



C. Appeals

Any person who is aggrieved by a decision of the magistrates’ court, arising either from a criminal or civil trial can appeal to the High Court.

Kadhis’ Courts

Kadhis’ Courts are established under Article 170 of the Constitution.  Their jurisdiction is limited to the determination of questions of Muslim Law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance in proceedings in which all the parties profess the Muslim Religion and submit to the jurisdiction of the Kadhis’ courts.


Courts Martial

The Court Martial hears cases involving people serving in the Military. They are established under the Armed Forces Act.



Tribunals are bodies established by Acts of Parliament to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. They supplement ordinary courts in the administration of justice. Tribunals, however, do not have penal jurisdiction.

Tribunals, like the courts, have to respect the Bill of Rights in their decisions and not be repugnant to justice and morality or be inconsistent with the Constitution or other laws of the land. Most tribunals are subject to the supervision of the High Court.  All tribunals fall under the Judiciary.



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