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Judicary announces more drastic measures to contain coronavirus spread in courts

The Judiciary has announced more measures aimed at protecting its staff as well as members of the public from infection by the fast spreading coronavirus.

The additional guidelines were added to the initial ones outlined by Chief Justice David Maraga after the government urged employers to allow their employees to work from home except those offering essential services.

In a statement, the Chief Justice said from Monday March 16 members of the public will not be allowed entry into all court premises indefinitely, except for those seeking to file urgent matters.

“Those who will be allowed are those coming to file very urgent matters,” the statement read.

The president of the supreme court further instructed the courts to maintain a skeleton staff of three during this time the country is managing the new viral disease.

“Each court should maintain a skeleton staff of three (including a Court Administrator and Court Assistant) to serve at the Customer Care desk for purposes of attending to urgent filings and inform the duty Judge/Magistrate accordingly for necessary action,” Maraga said.

The directive further stated that there will be one duty Judge of each Superior Court in the case of a High Court Station and one Magistrate in the case of Magistrates’ Court.

It will be the role of the lean staff to advise the judges and judicial officers when urgent matters are filed.

The urgent matters will be heard every Thursday effective Thursday this week.

On Sunday, the National Council for the Administration of Justice led by the CJ suspended open court appearances for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16.

The Judiciary also stated that during the two-week period, with regard to new arrests, all cases except for serious ones will be dealt with at police stations based on guidelines to be issued by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.