By PAMELA CHEPKEMEI email@example.com
Lawyers will oppose an application challenging the vetting of serving magistrates and judges.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has appointed a lawyer to represent it during the hearing of the case lodged by a law student. LSK will be represented by lawyer Eric Mutua in opposing the application filed by Mr Dennis Mang'are. During the mention of the case on Monday Judge Msagha Mbogholi of the High Court directed that the Attorney General be served with the suit papers.
The parties will appear before him tomorrow after which hearing dates will be fixed. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga allocated the case a three-judge bench. In the suit, Mr Mang'are wants the recently constituted Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board stopped from conducting the exercise until the case is heard and determined.
He also wants the court to declare Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act illegal. He is asking the court to stop the board or its agents from suspending or sending on leave the serving judges and magistrates pending the determination of the case.
The law student claims there are conflicts in the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act and the Constitution, which if not resolved may condemn the judicial officers without due process being followed. He argues a section of the Act is contrary to the Constitution because it fails to provide for the principle of natural justice and instead condemns the judges and magistrates without following rules of natural justice.
The Act also violates the Constitution, according to Mr Mang'are, because it presumes that every judicial officer undergoing vetting is guilty until the contrary is proven. The new Constitution requires all serving judges and magistrates to undergo vetting before they continue working in the Judiciary. A board of nine members has been established to start the vetting process soon.Last Edited: Tue 20th September 2011 at 11:37:06 AM