Kenya Judicial Sector Assessment : Social Context in the Magistrates Courts

The proposed judicial sector assessment will focus on justice at the level of magistrate courts in Kenya. In addition to the general challenges faced by magistrates, it will concentrate on the role of the social context in dispensing justice. Social context in this sense means underlying socio-cultural structures and belief systems of a community as well as socio-economic backgrounds. This Economic and Sector Work (ESW) will assess the extent to which the social context of a particular region jeopardizes equality before the law; whether magistrates take the social context into account in their judgments; and the degree to which they can take it into account within the limits of the law. The main objective of the assessment is to better understand magistrate needs given the various socio-economic environments of Kenya within which they work. These insights will be used to inform ongoing justice sector reform strategies with the aim of making the magistracy service more equitable and accessible.