Cecil Miller: Meet The First African High Court Judge In Kenya

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Cecil Miller: Meet The First African High Court Judge In Kenya
L-R: Cecil Miller Snr and Cecil Miller Jr Photo/Courtesy

The name Cecil Miller is not new among the old and new generations in Kenya. For the old, Cecil Miller was the first African High Court judge in Kenya and also served as Chief Justice from 1986 to 1989. For the new generation, Cecil Miller Jr is a renowned lawyer who has extensive experience in the legal sector spanning over 20 years.

In this article, WoK brings you the story of the father and son who share the same name and same career.

Cecil Miller Senior Background.

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Cecil Henry Ethelwood Miller was born in 1916 in George Town, capital of the then British Guyana which was later renamed to British West Indies and currently Guyana town. Miller began his career as a fighter pilot with the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

When the war came to an end, he retired holding the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the British Royal Air Force. While serving as a Commonwealth Welfare officer during this period, he undertook legal studies part time. He was admitted to the Bar in 1952 at the Middle Temple in London. He would then return to Guyana in 1953 as a legal officer in the Attorney General’s Chamber where he served until 1956.

Also Read: Benjamin Geteria: The Determined Lawyer Who Got Admitted To The Bar At 77 Years Old

His first operation outside Guyana was in 1956 when he was invited to Nigeria to establish and operate the first resident magistrate’s court in Victoria, Southern Cameroon which was at the time part of Nigerian territory. He was also part of the team that helped in the preparation of the constitution which led to Nigeria gaining independence in 1960. He would then serve in different positions in Nigeria including Principal State Attorney and as acting Attorney General before he relocated to Kenya in 1964.

Cecil Miller’s Journey in Kenya

Cecil Miller had met the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in London in 1940 when he was still a law student and the two had established a connection. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, Kenyatta impressed upon Cecil Miller to come to the country and take the position of a judge of the high court  since they were no qualified Kenyans who could serve in that capacity.

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Cecil jetted into the country in 1964 and subsequently became the first African High Court judge in Kenya. In 1970, President Kenyatta awarded him the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) award and was appointed as a commissioner at the Kenya School of Law tasked with making sure Kenya produced sufficient number of lawyers to meet the demands. In 1978, the late President Moi appointed him a judge in the court appeal and later as the Chairman of the Law Reforms Commission. In July 1983, he was appointed to head a Judicial Service Commision of inquiry to probe allegations that the late AG Charles Njonjo was planning to overthrow the government.

In November 1986, Miller was appointed Chief Justice of Kenya and was awarded the Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) award the same year. He however didn’t serve for long as he died on 4th September 1989 after suffering a short illness.

Also Read: Nazir Bhaduralli NurMohammad Jinnah: The Fake Lawyer Who Made Millions From Unsuspecting Kenyans

Cecil Miller Jr

The son who is named after the dad, decided to take over and follow the same career in the legal field. Cecil Guyana Miller is a lawyer and an advocate of the high court of Kenya with experience spanning over 26 years having been admitted to the bar on 6th June 1996. He is a Managing Partner at Miller and Company Advocates and has successfully represented dozens of financial institutions and corporate bodies in a wide range of matters.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the prestigious University of Warwick in London, United Kingdom and a Masters of Law Degree from the University of London, King’s College. One of the most popular cases he has handled in the past is the Nairobi governor Mike Sonko impeachment case by the county government of Nairobi. He however dropped the case leading to Mike Sonko getting impeached. Sonko would then come out gun blazing accusing Cecil Miller of allegedly conspiring with the County Assembly to bring him down.

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