Meet Martha Koome: Kenya’s First Female Justice

Martha Koome was born in 1960, 3 years before the end of colonial rule in Kenya. She’s a Kenyan advocate and Human Rights Defender.

The 61 years old Justice, was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya on May 19, 2021, making her the first woman to ever serve as a Chief Justice in Kenya.

Martha is an acclaimed expert in family law and is taking a keen interest in the welfare of children. In 1995 she was appointed by the African Union of meeting heads of states as a Commissioner to the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of Children. She has also served as the chairperson of the National Council on the Administration of Justice special task force on children matters where she helped steer the review of the Children’s Act.

Likewise, in 2021, she was a runner-up for the United Nations Kenya Person of The Year Award “for her advocacy of the rights of children in the justice system”

Justice Koome holds an LL.B from University of Nairobi and LL. M in Public International Law from the University of London which she acquired in 2010. After graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1986, she enrolled at the Kenya School of Law the following year and started working as a legal associate in Matherge and Muchemi advocates in 1988 until 1993, when she opened her own law firm and became the managing partner.

In 2012, she was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal. Prior to the appointment, she served as Puisne Judge for over 8 years. In the same year, Martha was elected the chairperson of the Kenya Magistrate and Judge Association.

Martha Koome becomes the 15th head of Kenya’s highest court since independence. President Kenyatta approved her nomination in just two weeks, which is remarkable given he has refused to swear in 41 judges nominated by the JSC in 2019.

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