Lady Justice Martha Koome was nominated to Kenya’s first woman Chief Justice on April 27, 2021 by the Judicial Service Commission. Prior to her nomination, Lady Justice Martha Koome was a judge at the Court of Appeal.Justice Koome full name is Martha Karambu Koome. in the professional circles she is called Lady Justice Martha Karambu Koome.
Justice Koome Career
Judge Koome was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal in January 2012. Prior to the appointment to the Court of Appeal, she served as Puine Judge for 8+ years and practised law for 15 years.
Judge Koome has a total of twenty-six years’ experience both as a legal practitioner and a Judge of the High Court and as Judge of The Court of Appeal.
She began her legal career in private practice in 1988, where she succeeded in running one of the most successful women law firms at the time.
While in private practice, Judge Koome distinguished herself as a defender of Human Rights concentrating specifically on Gender Rights. She represented political detainees and persons charged with politically instigated offences during the volatile period of one-party rule.
She was one of the lawyers who actively participated in the clamour for the repeal of section 2A of the Constitution and for the Independence of the judiciary.
In support of her application for the CJ’s position, Koome attached five writings that constitute major judgements she has delivered while at the Court of Appeal bench.
Among the major judgements she cited was the case where the High Court had stopped the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) from developing and installing a Mobile Document Management System (DMS) to tap and eavesdrop on people’s conversations.
Koome, alongside Appellate judges William Ouko and Daniel Musinga in April 2020 overturned the High Court decision allowing the Authority to continue developing the DMS on condition that they consult the public and other stakeholders.
Her second cited writing is a case where she sat on a bench that upheld that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has a duty to ensure all learning institutions are safe, with proper guidelines so that teachers do not subject students to sexual harassment and defilement.
She presented an essay she prepared for Court of Appeal in October 2020 concerning sentencing of capital offenders following the Supreme Court abolition of the mandatory death sentence.
In her last interview, the judge said her vision would be to fight corruption in the Judiciary and to reduce backlog of cases by introducing an electronic system of filing and monitoring cases.