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by Sydney
Political Cartoonist and Commentator


Sydney

Oct 30, 2020

No more sex on the Bench, in proposed code of conduct for Judiciary


The Kenyanpost news

It will be judicial misconduct for a judge to be kicked out of a professional body or even get entangled in private affairs that do not promote public confidence.

At the same time, judges will have to cautiously seek personal loans since in the event the same is perceived to compromise his or her office, an aggrieved person may seek their removal.

The new law handed by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to Parliament and exclusively obtained by The Standard has a raft of new conditions, and which are believed will instil public confidence in the Judiciary and how judges, magistrates and kadhis handle cases.

Although the Constitution provides that a judge should be removed from office for judicial misconduct, even a minor one, the regulation has settled the long-standing battle on whether a Chief Justice can discipline or admonish a judge for minor misconduct by prescribing it under the disciplinary procedure.

“Without derogating from the provisions of Articles 168 and 172 of the Constitution, breaches of this Code that amount to minor infractions and administrative lapses by judges and judicial officers shall be dealt with by the Chief Justice as the administrative head of the Judiciary,” the 2020 law reads in part.

JSC had a long-standing battle with some Supreme Court judges on whether a Chief Justice has powers to admonish a judge. Judges maintained he has no such powers, while JSC argued that not all misbehaviour qualifies for the removal of a judge.

In the new law, it will be illegal for judicial officers to misuse information in their possession.

In the 2016 law, the issue of loans appeared once — on a section of accountability and prohibition against corrupt practices.

However, in the proposed law, it appears four times indicating it is a teething issue in the Judiciary.

The word first appears under a section dealing with integrity, and here, judges are personally barred from accepting any gifts, personal loans, bequests, benefits or any other things of value, if acceptance is prohibited by law and would compromise his or her integrity.

It then appears thrice, under accountability and prohibition against bribery and other corrupt practices.

In the first part, a judge or magistrate is punishable by sacking if a personal loan is perceived to have compromised his duties.

It will also be illegal for judges’ families to directly or indirectly negotiate or accept gifts, loans, remunerations or benefits which are incompatible with judicial office, and which can be perceived as being intended to influence them.

The 2020 law has spelt the end of consensual sex between judges, judicial officers and staff.


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