EDUCATION 101: jurisdictions of the High Court

Principles of Law.

Law

 

Established by section 165 of the new constitution, the High court is the third largest court in Kenya and a superior court of record whose judgment are binding on the other courts to follow as law. The court is composed of the chief justice and at least 30 puisne judges. The C.J is appointed by the president who also appoints the other puisne judges on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission of Kenya.

Civil and Criminal Jurisdictions; the high court has limited original jurisdiction to deal with both civil and criminal matters. Normally it deals with civil cases in which the amount claimed is more than kshs 500,000

Supervisory jurisdictions; the High Court has powers to supervise any civil/criminal proceedings before any magistrate courts, Kadhi courts and court martial. In doing this work, it may make any orders and directions to ensure that justice is administered by these courts.

Territorial jurisdictions; the High Court has country wide jurisdictions. It may deal with any case between any person from any part of Kenya. Kenyans and foreigners, residents and no-residents may sue and be sued in the high court.

Admiralty Jurisdictions; this deals with matters arising in the water surfaces. The High court acts as a court of Admiralty and has powers to deal with matters arising in the high seas, territorial waters upon any lake or any other navigable inland waters in Kenya.

Constitutional Jurisdictions; the high court deals with matters regarding the interpretation of the constitution. Any question regarding the constitution arising in any court is to be referred to it for it determination and appeals from its decision can be made to the court of appeal.

Election Jurisdictions; the high court has powers to deal with elections petitions regarding whether or not: a person has been elected as the president/member of parliament; a seat in the national assembly has become vacant.

Succession Jurisdictions; the probate divisions of the high court deals with succession matters that is whether or not a will is valid, appointments of personal representatives, determination of dependents of the deceased and the general administration of the estate of the deceased persons.

Matrimonial Jurisdictions; the High Court also exercises Jurisdictions in matrimonial matters by granting orders for divorce, separation, nullify marriage, custody, adoptions, Guardianship, Legitimacy among others.

Appellate Jurisdictions; in the exercise of its appellate Jurisdictions, the High court has powers to hear and determine appeals coming from judgments of the magistrate courts, Kadhi courts and Court martial.

 

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