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PART I:

Who is the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC)?

Kenya Law Reform Commission is a State agency established by the Kenya Law Reform Commission Act, 2013 (No. 19 of 2013). It is the successor to the Law Reform Commission, previously established under the repealed Law Reform Commission Act, Cap 3 of the Laws of Kenya. It serves both levels of government (National and County governments). The Act grants the Commission necessary autonomy and powers incidental for the effective discharge of its functions under the Constitution and national legislation.

What are the legal instruments that give mandate to the KLRC?

i) The Constitution of Kenya 2010

The Commission is required under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution to coordinate with the Attorney-General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) in preparing, for tabling in Parliament the legislation required to implement the Constitution. The legislation required under the Constitution includes the specific laws listed under the Fifth Schedule and any other law not specifically listed but required for the implementation of the Constitution. These laws must be in place not later than five years from the date of promulgation of the Constitution.

ii) The Kenya Law Reform Commission Act 2013

The Kenya Law Reform Commission Act, 2013 outlines the functions of the Commission. The powers and functions of the Commission are specified in Sections 5 and 6 of the Act.

iii) County Governments Act, 2012

The County Governments Act and other legislation relating to Devolved Government obligates the Commission to offer technical assistance to and capacity building for the 47 counties in the formulation and reform of their legislation and policies. This is to primarily implement county governments’ mandate. The Commission has in order to achieve this, developed Draft Model Laws based on the functions of the County Governments in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. The Model Laws are for customization by the County Governments to suit their unique needs as distinct entities.

What is the composition of the KLRC?

The KLRC is composed of a chairperson, deputy chairperson (the chairperson and the deputy shall not be of the same gender), Chief Executive Officer (who is also the secretary to the commission), Commissioners and secretariat staff.

Who does the Kenya Law Reform Commission Serve?

a) The National government

The Commission, under section 6(1) of its Act, has the mandate of ensuring that all the law in the Statute Book are reviewed and aligned to the Constitution. Currently, Kenya has over 700 Acts of Parliament, which the Commission together with its stakeholders is continuously reviewing.

The same section requires the Commission to work with the Attorney-General (who is the principal legal advisor to the Government) in preparing legislation to implement the Constitution and offer technical assistance and information to the National Government.

Under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, the Commission is to coordinate with the Attorney-General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) in preparing, for tabling in Parliament the legislation required to implement the Constitution. The legislation required under the Constitution includes the specific laws listed under the Fifth Schedule and any other law not specifically listed but required for the implementation of the Constitution.

ii) County Governments

The County Governments Act and other legislation relating to Devolved Government obligates the Commission to offer technical assistance to and capacity building for the 47 counties in the formulation and reform of their legislation and policies to implement county governments mandate.

Section 6 of the Kenya Law Reform Commission Act requires the commission to provide advice, technical assistance and information to the national and county governments with regard to the reform or amendment of a branch of the law.

iii) The Citizens and people of Kenya in general

Section 6 of the commission’s Act requires the Commission to serve the public by undertaking public education on matters relating to law reform.Article 10 of the Constitution requires that all State Organs and offices uphold the national values which include public participation in the law reform process.

What is the relationship between Office of the Attorney-General, CIC and KLRC?

The State Law Office (Office of the Attorney-General) and CIC are two of the major partners of KLRC in the law reform process.

Under the Sixth Schedule the Commission is to coordinate with the Attorney-General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) in preparing, for tabling in Parliament the legislation required to implement the Constitution.

Section 6 (b) of the Kenya Law Reform Commission Act requires the commission to work with the Attorney-General and the commission of the implementation of the Constitution in preparing for tabling, in Parliament, the legislation and administrative procedures required to implement the Constitution. In respect of other legislation, the Commission mainly compliments the work of the Office of the Attorney-General, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Parliament as it is the State Agency that links Government’s policy making and legislative processes.

How does the public contact KLRC?

The public can contact the Commission through its Chairman and Secretary/CEO by visiting its offices or communication through its postal address or official telephone numbers which are available at the Commission’s official website www.klrc.go.ke 

How can MDAs, County Assemblies or County Governments or any other interested person initiate contact with KLRC?

The Commission is committed to responsive and vibrant law reform inclusive of all the stakeholders and interested groups. As a matter of practice, the Commission‘s technical officers participate in various MDAs Task Forces, Inter-ministerial Committees and similar undertakings to provide technical support during policy formulation and actual translation of the policy into legislative proposals.

Currently the Commission doesn’t have offices in the 47 counties but it is open for consultative forums and exchange programmes such as the one mentioned above to enhance the capacity of county governments and interested groups to promote and come up with responsive laws.

Interested groups can partner with KLRC for advanced consultative forums. Currently KLRC has partnered with inter alia the State Law Office, CIC, other constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices and interested groups like the, Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

PART II

1. What is the meaning of law reform?

Law reform can be defined as any beneficial change or proposed change in the law or the process by which the law is modified and shaped over time to better reflect the social values that society feels are important.

2. What are the aspirations of law reform in Kenya?

Law reform seeks to ensure that all laws are in conformity with the letter and spirit of the Constitution as well as ensuring that the legislation is consistent, harmonized, just, simple, accessible, modern and cost effective in application and responsive to the social, cultural and economic needs of the society.

3. What is the process of law reform in Kenya like?

The process of law reform in Kenya involves researching emerging areas of the law through comparative analyses, reviewing existing legislation and recommending their amendment, repeal or formulation of new legislation to ensure that all laws conform to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

4. Who are the key players in implementing law reform in Kenya?

The key players in implementing law reforms in Kenya are the Judiciary and Executive and Legislative arms of the National Government and the County Governments.

5. What are the constitutional provisions for law reform?

The constitutional basis for law reform may be drawn from Article 2(4) of the Constitution which declares that any law, including customary law, that is inconsistent with the Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency, and any act or omission in contravention of the Constitution is invalid.To avoid such inconsistencies, laws must be constantly under review to ensure conformity to the letter and spirit of the Constitution hence the place for law reform.

6. What are the national and county frameworks focused on law reform?

The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, tenya Law Reform Commission Act, the Office of Attorney-General Act, The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Act and the County Governments Act are examples of legislation with specific focus on law reform.

7. What is the role of the citizens in law reform

Citizens have a role in law reform by making proposals to the KLRC on any law that requires reform.

8. How does the public participate in law reform?

The element of public participation is especially important since our Constitution demands public participation in various spheres. The Constitution obligates the State and all State machineries to ensure that they undertake adequate public participation on all public policies, legislation or any decision that is likely to impact on the people of Kenya. The citizenry is therefore encouraged to attend and air views in the public participation fora.

9. What are the services offered by Kenya Law Reform Commission?

Kenya law reform offers the following services:

  1. working with the Attorney-General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution in preparing for tabling, in Parliament, the legislation and administrative procedures required to implement the Constitution;
  2. providing advice technical assistance and information to the national and county governments with regard to the reform or amendment of a branch of the law;
  3. formulating, by means of draft Bills or otherwise, any proposals for reform of national or county government legislation; and
  4. advising the national or county governments on the review and reform of their legislation;

10. Why is KLRC key in enhancing the realization of Kenya vision 2030?

The realization of Vision 2030 goals is heavily dependent on policy, legislative and administrative reforms. These are key elements which form the basis of KLRC mandate.

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