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  • Writer's pictureOrina Ontiri

Search for CJ: Justice Nduma Mathews Nderi interviewed by JSC

mployment and Labour Relations Court Judge Justice Matthews Nduma Nderi is being interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the position of Chief Justice at the Supreme Court.

Justice Nderi was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court in 1988 and holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and a Master of Laws degree in International Trade Law from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Upon admission to the Bar, he worked as a legal assistant in a company before starting his firm in 1989.

Justice Nderi, 59, is an alumnus of the Nairobi School and was admitted to the bar as an advocate of the High Court in 1988 after graduating with a Bachelor of Law from the University of Nairobi.

He obtained a Master of Law degree in International Trade Law from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa where he majored in Commercial Arbitration and has diplomas in Human Resource Management and Business Organization.

His 31-years of experience in legal practice has largely been obtained outside the country, having only practised as an advocate in Kenya for five years after graduating before moving to Swaziland in 1992 where he was appointed a crown counsel in the government’s prosecution office.

In 1997, he was promoted to senior crown counsel in Swaziland’s Attorney General Chambers before being appointed as Judge President of the Industrial Court of Swaziland where he served from 1998 to 2006.

Justice Nduma Mathews Nderi escorted by the registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi arrives at the Supreme Court buildings to be interviewed for the position of the Chief Justice.[Collins Kweyu, Standard]

He returned to Kenya that year and briefly served as head of legal and industrial affairs at the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) for one year.

He then went to Arusha, Tanzania to work as the principal legal counsel for the East African Community, between 2008 and July 2012.

After the 2010 Constitution established Employment and Labour Relations Courts (ELRC), Justice Nderi seized the opportunity to come back to Kenya where he was appointed a judge in 2012.

The judge is credited for laying the first foundation of the ELRC’s operations after the promulgation of the Constitution having been elected the division’s principal judge in 2012 and served until 2017.

Justice Nderi is a devout Catholic and says he likes playing golf, listening to music, dancing and reading inspirational books in his free time.

Double-edged sword

In his cited work, he submitted a decision in which he declared that workers’ unions have a right to be paid agency fees by employers in a case that had been filed by Kenya Hotels and Allied Workers Union against a resolution by some employers to withhold union dues.

The second writing involved a telephone operator who had been employed for five years on a monthly salary of Sh7,000 without a contract. The judge declared that the employment amounted to unfair labour practice and awarded the complainant Sh7 million as compensation.

Since a judge’s sword is double-edged, Justice Nderi also cited two cases where he declined to rule in favour of applicants who contested their removal from employment.

Among them was the case where he dismissed a case by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to stop his impeachment and another where he upheld the decision of the Kiambu County Assembly to impeach the former speaker.

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