State the composition and functions of the High Court of Kenya

The High Court of Kenya is established by section 60 (1) of the Constitution. This court is headed by the Chief Justice assisted by not less than nineteen puisne judges. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President of Republic of Kenya. The puisne judges are also appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. Although the High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters, in actual practice it will hear those criminal and civil cases which cannot be tried by the subordinate courts.

The High Court conducts most of its business at its headquarter in Nairobi, but of some of its judges are stationed at principal towns to try cases which can easily be dealt with there. The decisions of the High Court judges are not binding on other judges of this court, but all other subordinate courts must follow the decisions of the High Court in similar cases.

The High Court also hears appeals against convictions in Magistrates’ Courts on matter of law and on matter of fact. Also a party to a civil case decided in the Magistrate’s Courts has a right to make an appeal to the High Court where the matter in dispute exceeds Sh. 5,000; If the amount involved in the dispute does not exceed Sh. 5,000, then the appeal goes to District Magistrate’s Court of First Class or the Court of Resident Magistrate.

Section 65 (2) of the Constitution confers specific powers on the High Court to exercise supervisory jurisdiction in any civil and criminal cases before subordinate courts, and may make such orders, issue writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of ensuring that justice is properly administered by such courts

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