Structure of Kenyan court systems, functions.

Court judges

The court system in Kenya is hierarchical and is arranged from the highest to the lowest. The system of courts in Kenya is made up of;

  • Subordinate Court
  • Superior Courts

Superior Courts

The Superior Courts in Kenya are:

  • The supreme court
  • The court of appeal
  • The High Court

Supreme court

Image of the supreme court fountain in kenya

It is the highest court in the land which is made up of:

  1. The chief justice
  2. The Deputy chief justice
  3. Five other judges

What are the functions of the supreme?

  • Makes decision that binds to all other courts.
  • Makes rules for the exercise of its jurisdiction.
  • Hears and determines appeals from the court of appeal and any other court.
  • Gives advisory opinion at the request of the National Government and any state organ.

The Court of Appeal

This is the second highest court in the country. So, it composes of

  • The president is elected from among its judges.
  • Not less than twelve judges.


  • Hears appeal from the High court.
  • It also hears appeals from other courts
  • Also, it may order a retrial of a case by a lower court.

The High Court

This is the third highest court which consists of:

  1. Principal of judge appointed by judges of the High court from among themselves.
  2. A number of judges are prescribed by an Act of Parliament.


  1. Protects rights in the bill of rights
  2. Hears questions on the interpretation of the constitution.
  3. Supervises the subordinate Courts
  4. Hears appeals from the subordinate Courts


These are the lower courts that have limited jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases. They include:

  1. The magistrate courts
  2. The kadhi courts
  3. The court martial
  4. Tribunals


These are Islamic ones that handle disputes where both parties are Muslim. Their jurisdiction over Muslim matters is such as:

  1. Divorce
  2. Marriage
  3. Inheritance
  4. Personal status


However, this is a special one established by An Act of Parliament to handle matters relating to a specific field.

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