Meet Justice Joel Ngugi: Judge Who Wowed Kenyans With BBI Judgement
Justice (Prof) Joel Ngugi was the Presiding Judge sitting with Justice George Odunga, Justice Jairus Ngaah, Justice Chacha Mwita, and Lady Justice Teresia Matheka on a five-judge bench that delivered the ruling on the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 on Thursday, May 13. The five-judge bench cited the bill as unconstitutional due to a number of irregularities. The Harvard-trained judge struck a chord with a number of Kenyans for his passion and confidence while reading out the shocking conclusions by the panel of judges. Some of the best legal minds in the Country have praised judge Ngugi as a gifted judge who has an agile brain in the current generation. “His integrity and sense of justice are unsurpassed,” Constitutional lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike stated.
Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who is also a lawyer, remarked that the contribution of Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Chacha Mwita and Teresia Matheka would go down in history and be remembered for a long time. With his firm and calm delivery, the Judge struck a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pet project while sending politicians and Kenyans who opposed to the initiative into a frenzy. According to his profile on The Animal law Conference, Ngugi was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Kenya in September 2011 and initially stationed at the High Court in Machakos. He was appointed by the Chief Justice to head the Judiciary Transformation Secretariat which is responsible for implementing the Judiciary Transformation Framework 2012-2016. Before his career in the judiciary, Ngugi was a lecturer at the University of Washington in Seattle where he taught law. At the University, he researched on the role of law in economic development, the role of governments in market regulation and wealth allocation, and legal reforms in transition and developing economies.
In terms of his Education, Ngugi is a graduate of the Nairobi University where he studied in 1996 before he proceeded to the Kenya School of Law in 1997 for a Postgraduate Diploma in Law. Afterwards, he went to Harvard University where he obtained an LL.M. in 1999 and an S.J.D. in 2002. There, he was one of the two recipients of John Gallup Laylin Prize in International Law in 2002. He has previously practised at Boston law firm of Foley Hoag, LLP, as a corporate and international litigation associate. He also practiced law with the Kenyan firm Kariuki Muigua & Company Advocates before moving to the United States. The judge is no-nonsense and recently delivered a judgement for Jane Muthoni, a woman accused of sending hitmen to kill her husband, who was a principal at Kiiru Boys High School. He found Muthoni guilty and also convicted her co-accused Isaac Ng’ang’a alias Gikuyu. The convicts will be sentenced on May 18.
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