Coronavirus: Kenya's CJ suspends foreign travel, halts open court

Sunday March 15 2020

Chief Justice David Maraga addresses journalists at the Supreme Court in Nairobi on March 15, 2020. With him are members of the National Council for the Administration of Justice. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Judiciary has announced a scaling down of its activities in the wake of confirmation of Kenya's first case of the deadly coronavirus.

Chief Justice David Maraga told a press briefing on Sunday that court activities will be reduced for two weeks effective Monday to allow further consultations on the matter and the design of appropriate response measures.

CJ Maraga said prisoners and remandees will not be presented to court for the two weeks.

“With regard to new arrests, all cases except serious ones will be dealt with at police stations in accordance with guidelines to be issued by the Inspector-General of Police,” he said.

He added that all appeals, hearings and mentions of criminal and civil cases in all courts have been suspended with immediate effect.

Also suspended for two weeks is execution proceedings.



However, Mr Maraga said, courts will continue to handle certificates of urgency and plea-taking in serious cases.

“During this time, all judicial officers and staff will continue being on duty. However, there will be no open court appearances.”

The CJ further said judges in all stations will, in the meantime, review deserving cases identified by prison authorities and issue appropriate revision orders as part of decongestion efforts.

Magistrate's courts will also review bail terms for those in remand.

“All conferences, workshops, colloquia and training programmes are suspended until further notice. There will be no foreign travel for the next 30 days for staff of the justice sector institutions, whether official or private, save for exceptional circumstances,” he added.


Mr Maraga said an ad-hoc inter-agency committee has been established to liaise with the national committee and advise the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) on further precautionary measures on an ongoing basis.

“The NCAJ will review these directions from time to time as the need arises,” he said.

He addressed the press at the Supreme Court in Nairobi, after a meeting of the NCAJ, flanked by officials including Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji, IG Hilary Mutyambai.