𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟗, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑.
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by the Vice-Chairperson Hon. Mwengi Mutuse (Kibwezi West), received more submissions on the Tribunals Bill, 2023; which seeks to give effect to Articles 1(3)(c), 20(4), 47(3), 159(1) and 169 of the Constitution regarding Tribunals, to establish the office of the Registrar of Tribunals, to provide for the functions of the Registrar of Tribunals, to rationalize and regulate the administration and functions of Tribunals, and for connected purposes.
The Chairpersons for Business Premises Rent Tribunal and Land Acquisition Tribunal, called for revision of Section 43, to let the terms of office of current Tribunal Members and Chairpersons to run until expiry, rather than requiring them to leave office after 18 months, as this will safeguard against grounding tribunals pending recruitment of new members as some have been appointed at different times.
Further, the Chairpersons proposed clause 19(1) on the quorum of 3 members for the tribunals to be left to the parent law, to help streamline the question of quorum which depends on the composition of tribunals and also the complexity of matters handled by those tribunals.
The Public Administrative Officers Caucus raised a concern that the Bill does not include the proposed independent tribunals into our court systems pursuant to Article 162(4) of the Constitution.
In addition to that, the caucus noted that the Tribunals Act attempts to amend the Constitution against the provisions of Article 255, 256 and 257. An additional role outside the functions provided to the Judicial Service Commission constitutes backdoor constitutional amendment.
The caucus also noted that establishment of the offices of the Registrar and Deputy Registrar and subsequent appointments, ought to be handled by the Public Service Commission and not the Judicial Service Commission as highlighted in the Bill.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) proposed deletion of clause 5(2)(b), on the functions and powers of the Judicial Service Commission, arguing that Parliament does not need any recommendation from any source to determine which bodies including Tribunals are to be established.
LSK also called on harmonization of clause 12(1), on the appointment of chairperson and members of tribunal, noting that the clause recommends each tribunal to have a minimum of three members, while clause 8 provides that the tribunal shall have a minimum of two members.
Hon. Mwengi Mutuse notified all who presented their submissions that the Committee shall be looking at their submissions and do a report based on constitutionality and ensuring that they are in harmony with other laws.