Judicial Service Commission has approved the recruitment of more than 40 judges to ease shortage in courts.

Meeting in Mombasa, the Commissioners approved the recruitment of 20 judges of the Environment and Land Court, 10 judges of the Employment and Labour court and 11 judges of the Court of Appeal.

Prof Tom Ojienda, a JSC commissioner said they will soon call for applications but he did not state when they call for them.

In the last three years, six judges have retired among them former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Justice Philip Tunoi of the Supreme Court.

The top three judges were filled almost immediately but JSC did not recruit more judges for the country’s second highest court.

At the Court of Appeal, Justices John Mwera, Anyara Emukule, Festus Azangalala and GBM Kariuki, retired leaving the court with only 20 judges.

There are four Court of Appeal stations including Nairobi, Kisumu, Malindi and Nyeri. Five judges of the Court of Appeal are also between 65 and 69 years, meaning that more judges are set to retire in two years’ time.

In the recruitment, the JSC must ensure that not more than two-thirds of the members are of the same gender, shall observe the principle of regional and ethnic balance. The Constitution calls for equality, equity and ethnic and regional balancing in all public appointments. There are only seven women judges at the Court of Appeal.