The Courts


The Supreme Court hears and determines cases relating to presidential elections. It hears appeals on cases that have been concluded by the Court of Appeal, issues advisory opinions on matters concerning County Governments, in any cases involving the interpretation or application of the Constitution and in matters of general public importance.

 Further, the Supreme Court hears appeals from any other court or tribunal as prescribed by national legislation.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is established under Article164 of the Constitution and consists of a number of judges, being not fewer than twelve, as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament and the Court is to be organized and administered in the manner prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

The Court comprises of a president of the Court of Appeal who is elected by the judges of the Court of Appeal from among themselves.

The Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the High Court and any other court or tribunal as prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

The High Court

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—

  1. unlimited original jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters;
  2. jurisdiction to determine the question whether a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied, violated, infringed or threatened;
  3. jurisdiction to hear an appeal from a decision of a tribunal appointed under this Constitution to consider the removal of a person from office, other than a tribunal appointed under Article 144;
  4. jurisdiction to hear any question respecting the interpretation of this Constitution including the determination of—
    1. the question whether any law is inconsistent with or in contravention of this Constitution;
    2. the question whether anything said to be done under the authority of this Constitution or of any law is inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this Constitution;
    3. any matter relating to constitutional powers of State organs in respect of county governments and any matter relating to the constitutional relationship between the levels of government; and
    4. a question relating to conflict of laws under Article 191; and
  5. any other jurisdiction, original or appellate, conferred on it by legislation.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction in respect of matters reserved for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under this Constitution or falling within the jurisdiction of the courts contemplated in Article 162 (2).

The High Court has supervisory jurisdiction over the subordinate courts and over any person, body or authority exercising a judicial or quasi-judicial function, but not over a superior court.

Subordinate Courts

The subordinate courts are provided for under Article 169 of the Constitution and they are—

  1. The Magistrates Courts
  2. The Kadhis' Courts
    • The Kadhis’ Court is comprised of a Chief Kadhi and such number, being not fewer than three, of other Kadhis as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament.
    • The jurisdiction of a Kadhis’ court 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 Kadhi’s courts.
  3. The Courts Martial
    • Section 84 of the Armed Forces Act gives a court martial power to try any person subject to the Act for any offence which under the Act is triable by court martial, and to award for such an offence any punishment provided by the Act for that offence.
  4. Tribunals