Kenya Law’s New Offices Opened
February 28, 2014
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LAW REPORTING (KENYA LAW)
SPEECH BY THE HON. LADY JUSTICE KALPANA RAWAL, DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE & VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF KENYA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW OFFICE PREMISES OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LAW REPORTING (KENYA LAW) AT ACK GARDEN ANNEX, 5TH FLOOR, 1ST NGONG AVENUE, OFF BISHOPS ROAD, NAIROBI – FEBRUARY 14, 2014
- Esteemed Members of the Council for Law Reporting present
- The CEO of Kenya Law, Mr. Michael Murungi
- The Management and Staff of Kenya Law
- My fellow senior government officers from the Department of Public Works in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Planning
- The CEO of the Church Commissioners of Kenya, our landlord, Mr. Desmond Mtula
- Mr. David Masika of Lloyd Masika, our property managers
- Mr. Peter Mungai from Harrikasons Construction and your team of other contractors
- Our invited guests, ladies and gentlemen
It is an honour for me to join you today on the occasion of the official opening of the new offices of the National Council for Law Reporting – or KENYA LAW – as you are now more popularly known.
This is yet another great milestone in the growth and development of an institution that has established itself as a jewel on the crown of the Judiciary and a world leader in providing open access to quality public legal information. I am proud to be associated with this institution and also with this occasion.
You are all very familiar with the journey that this institution has made. In 2002, the Hon. Mr. Justice Bernard Chunga, who was then the Chief Justice and Chairman of the Council for Law Reporting, made a bold decision – he took the National Council for Law Reporting Act from the shelves, dusted it, leveraged on the progress made from the previous meetings that had been held by his predecessors to make plans for the funding and establishment of a secretariat, and decided to set aside two small rooms and a library on the ground floor of the Milimani Commercial Courts to be the first office of this institution. This was a space that was no more than 2,000 square feet.
At that time, there was only one full-time member of staff, the Deputy Editor, and the other five members of staff were seconded to the institution from the Judiciary either on a full-time or a part-time basis. In terms of access to legal information such as law reports and the Laws of Kenya, it was also the most difficult time. Judicial Officers, legal practitioners, scholars, students and members of the public operated in conditions that made it very difficult to access legal information. The Kenya Law Reports had gone out of publication, many landmark judicial opinions were being delivered and just piling up in the court archives – some of them were even destroyed. The only published legal reference materials that judicial officers and legal practitioners could rely on were old publications and the latest court decisions could only reliably be obtained from the court stations in printed copies. It is hard to even think of how we managed to do our legal research and write our judgments in those difficult days.
When we flash-forward to 2014, the institution that we see today is barely recognizable against the backdrop of those early beginnings. Now you have a staff count of 73, you have established yourselves as an internationally recognized award-winning institution, you have redefined law reporting not only for Kenya but for the world and you are moving from what was originally 2,000 square feet, which later grew into 5,000 square feet, to occupying a new space that is over 11,000 square feet.
That is a phenomenal growth by any standard and I wish to congratulate the Members of the Council for Law Reporting, and the Management and all members of staff of Kenya Law for your great leadership, your dedication and your hard work that has made this institution what it is today.
You are also very familiar with the journey that lies ahead of this institution and the Judiciary. As you would know from the Judiciary Transformation Framework and the Judiciary Strategic Plan, with the leadership of the Hon. Dr. Willy Mutunga, the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, we have embarked on a journey of transformation and innovation for the citizen, under the vision ‘Equitable access to and expeditious delivery of justice’.
Part of that journey involves a fair amount of housekeeping – realigning our work ethic, our values, our systems and processes with the values and principles of public service which are very eloquently set out in the Constitution of Kenya 2010; acquiring the skills, knowledge and tools that enable us to give the highest quality service to the people; and improving the state of our infrastructure. I see the acquisition of the new office space by Kenya Law as turning one page on that journey of transformation and innovation for improved service delivery.
As you settle into your new modern and elegant office: with beautiful furnishings, a mother’s room, a staff lounge, a conference room, a modern kitchen and eating area, excellent washrooms, beautiful open plan office with glass partitions, air-conditioning, carpeted executive wing and all of that, do not forget one thing. It is not the elegance and beauty of our offices and how comfortable we are in them that makes a difference for the people that we serve. Rather, it is how being in that new, elegant and modern office enables us to be more productive, more efficient and more innovative. If we do not achieve that, then in the eyes of the people that we serve, our moving to new offices would be a waste of time and money.
Knowing this institution and the great, hard working, passionate, energetic and progressive people that have made it what it is, I think this new office space is only going to make you more productive, more efficient and more innovative.
I wish you all the best as you settle in and as you continue your annual staff conference in the afternoon.