Law and Society

The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the land and established under Section 64 of the Constitution. Its function is to hear appeals from the High Court in certain matters. . The Court of Appeal is situated in Nairobi but it periodically holds its sessions in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri and Eldoret. THE HIGH COURT The High Court is the second court in the hierarchy. It is established under Section 60 of the Constitution. The court may hear both criminal and civil matters. The High Court in Nairobi has the following specialized divisions: -Family Division.

-Criminal Division -Civil Division -Commercial Division -Constitutional and Judicial Review Division There are fifteen (15) High Court stations in the country. These are: Nairobi, Milimani, Kisumu, Kisii, Bungoma, Kakamega, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale, Embu, Nyeri, Mombasa, Malindi, Meru, Machakos with sub registries in Kericho and Busia. Jurisdiction; The High Court is created by Section 60 of the Constitution of Kenya. Essay;LawandSociety 1 -It has unlimited original jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. - It is the highest court of original jurisdiction in Kenya.

-Appellate Jurisdiction; The High Court is also endowed with appellate jurisdiction. Appeals from various administrative bodies and subordinate courts are heard and determined by the High Court. Constitutional References The High Court is the final arbiter in matters concerning the interpretation of the Constitution. This jurisdiction is conferred upon it by Section 67(1) of the Constitution. When any question as to the interpretation of the Constitution arises in proceedings in any subordinate court, that court shall, if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the matter to the High Court for interpretation.

Election Petitions The High Court is further empowered by Section 44 of the Constitution to hear and determine election petitions. It is for the court to determine questions as to whether a person has been validly elected as a Member of Parliament. Admiralty Jurisdiction. Essay;LawandSociety 2 Moreover, the High Court has admiralty jurisdiction in all matters arising on the high seas or in territorial waters, or upon any lake or navigable inland waters in Kenya.

This would relate to incidents such as boundary disputes between Kenya and another country with regard to territorial waters, Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone with regard to the coastline and any acts of piracy on the high seas. MAGISTRATES COURTS Magistrates Courts are created under the Magistrates Courts Act (Chapter 10 of the Laws of Kenya). They handle civil and criminal matters depending on the rank of the magistrate. The higher the rank of the magistrate, the bigger the case he can handle. The hierarchy of Magistrates in descending order is as follows: - Chief Magistrate - Senior Principal Magistrate - Principal Magistrate.

- Senior Resident Magistrate - Resident Magistrate - District Magistrate There are one hundred and five (105) Magistrates Courts in the country that are stationed at the following district or divisional levels. Essay;LawandSociety 3 SPECIALIZED COURTS In addition to the other courts, we have the following additional courts - Children’s Courts to deal with matters relating to children - Anti-corruption Courts to deal with matters relating to corruption and integrity. (a) Children Court The Children's Courts are constituted under Section 73 of the Children's Act (Act No.8 of 2001).

They deal specifically with children's matters that involve: * Parental responsibility * Custody and maintenance * Guardianship * Protection of children * Foster care * Child offenders Jurisdiction 1. The courts are presided over by Magistrates duly appointed by the Chief Justice. 2. There are currently 96 Magistrates appointed to hear children's matters all over the country. 3. Currently only Nairobi and Mombasa have a building specially dedicated as a Children's Courts. Essay;LawandSociety 4 4. In other parts of the country ordinary courts are turned into Children's Courts when the ordinary court is not sitting. (b)Anti-Corruption Court.

The Anti-Corruption Court specifically handles matters dealing with graft in public and private office. Composition; The Court is headed by a Magistrate duly appointed by the Chief Justice, Anti -Corruption Courts are located across the country in areas such as: Nairobi, Kiambu, Nyeri and Kisumu. (c) Tribunals Tribunals are established under various laws made by Parliament to deal with disputes that arise in the course of the regulation and administration of certain matters.

The most common tribunals are: 1. The Industrial Court established to deal with labour disputes 2. The Land Disputes Tribunals only deal with disputes relating to land issues such as the division of land and boundaries of land and so on. 3. The Rent Restriction Tribunal only hears and resolves disputes between landlord and tenants of residential houses and 4. The Business Premises Tribunal only hears and decides cases involving landlords and tenants of business premises such as shops and hotels.

Essay;LawandSociety 5 The difference between the tribunals and the courts is that the tribunals only hear certain specific matters. However, when you are before a tribunal, you are entitled to same rights and standards of service as you are entitled to in the ordinary courts. KADHIS COURTS Kadhis Courts are established under section 66 of the Constitution. Their operations are regulated under the Kadhis Courts Act (Chapter 11 of the Laws of Kenya). Kadhis Courts deal with matters relating to personal status, marriage, divorce, inheritance in proceedings in which both parties profess the Muslim faith. Kadhis Courts are subordinate to the High Court. Essay;LawandSociety.