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HomebioWilliam Ouko Biography, Education, Career And Supreme Court Judge Nomination

William Ouko Biography, Education, Career And Supreme Court Judge Nomination

Serving as the current president of the Court of Appeal and a nominee to the position of judge of the Supreme Court, Justice William Ouko is known to many as a humble and firm judge. With over 33 years of legal experience, Justice Ouko is among the longest serving judicial officers. He spearheaded the Ouko Report, which is remembered as the most comprehensive blueprint for change in the Judiciary. In acknowledgement, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga praised Ouko for his foundational work in reforming the Judiciary. Justice Ouko has served in various positions and it did not come as a surprise when the Justice Service Commission (JSC)  picked him for the Supreme Court Judge. 

Most of the recommendations in the Ouko report were incorporated in the 2010 constitution, such as laying down of the procedures for the removal and discipline of judges, expanding representation in the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association, the Law Society of Kenya, and in the Judicial Service Commission to include the Supreme Court. 


Justice Ouko was born in Siaya County on the 21st of November 1962.


Justice Ouko holds an array of certifications from various institutions.

  • Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Nairobi in 1986.
  • Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law in 1987. 
  • Master of Arts degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice (MACJ) in 2016.

He also underwent various trainings including;

  • Senior Management Course training at Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA).
  • Administration of Courts in the USA.
  • Judicial Administration at the Royal Institute of Public Administration UK.
  • Good Governance and Accountability in Washington International Management Institute (WIMI), USA.


President of the Court of Appeal, 2018 to date
Appointed as Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012
Judge of the High Court. Served in Malindi, Meru and Nakuru. (2004 — 2012)
Registrar, High Court of Kenya (2002 -2004)
Chief Court Administrator (1997 — 2002)
Deputy Registrar, Senior Deputy Registrar and Principal Deputy Registrar (1990 — 1997)
District Magistrate II (Professional) (1987 -1989)
Advocate at Mbogholi Msagha and Company Advocates (1987)


As registrar of the High Court, Justice Ouko administered the oath of office to Mwai Kibaki as the newly elected president at Uhuru Park on the 30th of December 2002. During this time, Ouko also served as the Secretary to the National Council for Law Reporting (NCLR) and Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission.

Besides being a Judge of the Court of Appeal, Ouko served as a member of the Reform and Development Committee, Government of Kenya Technical Committee on the Implementation of Legal Sector Reform Programme, East African Judicial Education Committee, and the Delinking Committee of the Judiciary. Justice Ouko has also served in the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry as a joint secretary very efficiently and as a result of his service earned the highest service honours – Chief of the Burning Spear and Elder of the Burning Spear. In his career, Ouko has chaired various committees.

Chief Justice Position

On the 21st of April during his interview for the position of Chief Justice, Justice Ouko argued that his qualifications and administration in the Judiciary makes him the best candidate for the job. On talks about transformations and reforms in the Judiciary, Ouko firmly said,

“Reforms are progressive. We have reached a point where we have enough and it is now time to implement. The focus should be the backlog of cases and expedition will be my approach….”

Judge of the Supreme Court

He did not manage being nominated for the position but on the 5th of May Justice Ouko was nominated as the judge of the Supreme Court. After his nomination, Justice Ouko congratulated Chief Justice-designate Martha Koome who will be the first female Chief Justice and vowed to work with her to ensure effectiveness of Judicial Service.