At the time, seasoned lawyer Fred Ngatia was considered the favorite to succeed Maraga, whose term had expired, but it was ultimately Koome who prevailed.
A year later, CJ Koome, Kenya’s first female Chief Justice, led a 7-judge bench to uphold the election of Kenya’s fifth president, William Ruto.
She is married with three children and has had an impressive career spanning three decades after graduating in law from the University of Nairobi in 1986 – and has earned various other degrees over the years.
Koome attended the Kenya School of Law the year after graduating from UON.
She established her private legal practice in 1988, then joined the Judiciary in 2003 and practiced across various stations throughout the country, during which time she also served as a council member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
She then went on to the University of London, where she earned her Master of Laws (LL.M) in Public International Law in 2010.
In 2011, she was appointed to the Court of Appeal, and in September of that year, she was elected Chairperson of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association.
Lady Justice Koome has distinguished herself as a champion for women’s rights and the welfare of children over the course of her three-decade career.
She was a member of the National Council on the Administration of Justice’s special taskforce on children’s issues, where she helped steer the review of the Children’s Act.
Last year, her efforts on behalf of children earned her a nomination as the runner-up for the 2020 UN in Kenya Person of the Year.
During an interview with Business Daily about the accomplishment, Justice Koome stated:
“Children have no voice, so I choose to speak for them because I recognise they are our bridge to the future and unless we nurture them, our future will be precarious. I recognise that children are vulnerable due to their age.
“I also recognise when they are in conflict with the law or they are victims of offences, it is because of failure of a system. The society, family or community have failed them. That makes children victims.”
Dr Amado Philip de Andrés, the UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, presented her with a Certificate of Commendation at the UN Office in Nairobi.