An accused follows virtual court session.

LSK Pushing For Full Return of Open Court Sessions

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The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) says it is working with other stakeholders to see that the hearing of court cases returns to normal.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, a majority of the cases have been handled virtually, in compliance with Ministry of Health protocols that were meant to help curb the spread of the virus.

But with the gradual re-opening of the country and the recent lifting of dusk to dawn curfew, LSK North Rift regional chairman Joshua Maritim says they are pushing for all court proceedings to be heard in open court sessions.

Speaking during the launch of this year’s Legal Awareness Week at the Eldoret High Court, Maritim admitted that many court users have not been comfortable with the virtual court session.

LSK North Rift chairman Joshua Maritim.

“It has been a concern even for us as Court Users Committee members in terms of access to justice as some feel virtual court doesn’t make it feel like they have been heard. One aspect of Access to Justice is to be heard an accorded opportunity to express yourself,” said Maritim.

“We are working with other stakeholders to see to it that we return to open courts within confirms of MOH guidelines,” he added.

Already a number of courts have started hearing cases in open court sessions, but others are still being conducted virtually and LSK hopes that with ongoing vaccination of citizens, it will be easier for a decision to be made for a full return to normal for court sessions.

The LSK North Rift branch chairman further noted that as they start the Legal Awareness Week, they will be addressing among others a rise in Gender-Based Violence cases worsened by the pandemic, as well as offering free legal aid to citizens.

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