NCAJ turns nine

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The National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) marks its ninth anniversary today.

Following the promulgation of the 2010 Constitutional dispensation; recognizing that we derive judicial authority from the people of the Republic of Kenya; and binding ourselves to the realization of national values and principles of governance , while at the same time taking cognizance that the justice system is chain-linked in the service of the people of Kenya, it was seen as vital to establish a multi-agency body to address the responsive and precautionary needs and distress calls that came from our people.

Nine years ago, in 2011, this envisioned multi-agency body was created, anchored under the Judicial Service Act, No. 1 of 2011.

The NCAJ was established as a high level, policy- making, implementation and oversight coordinating mechanism, tasked to ensure a coordinated, efficient, effective and consultative approach in the administration of justice, response to issues raised and reform of the justice system for the benefit of Wananchi – in full realization that the mandate potential, capacity and discharge of each actor in the justice system is connected, intertwined and dependent on the other, with the intention to depart from the silo approaches of the past and to inculcate collective responsibility and mutual accountability amongst actors in the justice system.

So anchored, the NCAJ provides a platform for consultative discourse among actors in and users of the justice sector in: addressing matters including opportunities, strengths, problems and challenges within the sector, coordinating responses to and resolutions of these; considering improvements in the operations and performance of the sector; coordinating functions of all agencies within the justice system and improve their interaction; and promote accountability by the said agencies and stakeholders.

Membership of the NCAJ is characteristic of both State and non-state agencies involved in administration of justice and continues to grow with the growth of the sector and the needs that arise. The heads of these agencies or their representative, (appointed in writing), comprise the Council members.

In a bid to address the problems that plague and continue to undermine the Kenya’s justice sector realization of justice for all, and in acknowledging that public participation, stakeholder engagement, awareness creation and sensitization of the public, and effective justice sector partnerships are essential to the administration of justice, and hence democratic governance, the NCAJ carries out its activities through targeted Committees that work with the people on the ground to find solutions to their problems which in turn result in reform of the entire system on a national level.

NCAJ @ 9

In the past nine years the NCAJ as a Council has:

  1. Convened 14 consultative meetings to discuss various matters surrounding the achievement of its mandate. Each subsequent meeting is a check and balance on the achievement of the resolutions of the preceding meeting.
  2. Assessed the sector, identified gaps, constituted and appointed focus-specific committees, special working groups and taskforces, representative of Council member agencies and other stakeholders, to spearhead comprehensive review and reform of target areas, implement recommendations and operationalize initiatives and activities necessary in the achievement of their mandates. These include:
    a) the Taskforce on Bail and Bond,
    b) the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (BBIC),
    c) the NCAJ Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms(NCCJR);
    d) the Special Taskforce on Children Matters (STFCM);
    e) the NCAJ Special Working Group on Court Users Committees (CUCs);
    f) the NCAJ Special Working Group on Traffic Matters; and
    g) the NCAJ Committee on Active Case Management
    h) the NCAJ Committee on Anti-Illicit Trade
    i) the NCAJ Committee on Sexual Offences
    The Council has received end of term status reports from Committees that finalized on their mandates.
  3. Through its Committees, achieved a number of milestones these include:
    a. Convening a National dialogue among agencies on the reform of the Criminal Justice System
    b. Developing the draft Bill on Bail and Bond, 2020
    c. Working with stakeholders on the development of the Children’s Bill, 2018
    d. Training and sensitizing agency officers on various matters e.g. Active Case Management, administration of bail and bond,
    e. Auditing the Criminal Justice System in a bid to identify the gaps and challenges that mar the sector and address them accordingly
    f. Developing various publications relating to the justice sector, such as:
    –  The Sentencing Guidelines
    –  Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines
    –  Training Manuals and Curricula on ACM, Bail and Bond, and handling cases of illicit trade
    –  Committee reports on the achievement of their work and the status of the focus area
    –  Policies and guidelines, i.e. alternative dispute resolution (diversion, mediation), children in conflict with the law, petty offenders, pre-trial detainees and alternative justice systems
    –  The Protection and Care form for children in contact with the law
    –  Guidelines on operations of Court User Committees
    –  The National Policy and Action Plan on Criminal Justice Reform
    –  IEC materials to sensitize the public on their rights and what they need to know in relation to the various NCAJ Committee mandates e.g. FAQs and service charters.

4. Engaging member agencies and other stakeholders on their role and areas of intervention in relation to the justice sector.

With these and other milestone feathers on our hat, we do still appreciate that there is still more to do and that the system is still crippled by a myriad of challenges. Our commitment to work together and with everybody else in addressing the said challenges as well as strengthening the capacity we have still stands firm.

As we approach the 1st decade of our existence, we can only continue to do what needs to be done to see this and other intentions achieved.

We take this opportunity to thank all our partner agencies and organizations as well as members of the public for the support and the constructive criticism offered that only serve to make us and our country better.

UNIFIED TO SERVE OUR PEOPLE

NCAJ partners