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Is Being a Magistrate in Kenya Worth It? A Deep Dive into Magistrate Salaries in Kenya

The judiciary is one of the best-paying formal sectors in Kenya.

It has several court categories, including the Supreme court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Environment and Land Court, Employment and Labor Relations Court, and Subordinate Courts.

Magistrate Courts fall under the Subordinate Courts category. 

Magistrates are well compensated for their services.

But there is a difference between magistrate and judge salaries. Judges pocket more because they rank higher in the Judiciary system.

Magistrates have a salary disparity depending on rank and experience.

SRC reviewed magistrates’ allowances in 2021, which saw them get a pay rise dated November 22, 2019.

In this post, I will shed more light on the magistrate’s salaries and allowances in various categories.

Read on to decide if it is a career you can give a chance.


CategorySalary Range
Chief MagistratesKES 732,000
Senior principal magistratesKES 485,000
Senior resident magistratesKES  329,000
Resident magistratesKES  190,000

1. Chief Magistrate 

Chief Magistrates, also referred to as senior district judges, preside over civil and criminal cases within their jurisdiction, set bail, and impose jail sentences on the accused.

They have a jurisdiction limit of Ksh20 Million when imposing value on disputes in courts.

The chief magistrate is the highest-paid magistrate in Kenya, taking home Ksh732, 000 every month.

The salary is inclusive of allowances like:

  • Security –KES 20,000
  •  Non-practicing allowance –KES 15,000
  • Transport- KES 24,000.

Other applicable allowances include house, entertainment, responsibility, and magistracy. 

2. Senior Principal Magistrate

Senior principal magistrates follow legal procedures to dispense justice by hearing civil and criminal cases except for treason and murder.

During proceedings, they are not expected to exceed Ksh15 Million when valuing subject disputes.

A senior principal magistrate earns a monthly wage of Ksh 485,000.

They are also entitled to:

  • Transport allowance – KES 20,000,
  • Non-practicing allowance –KES 15,000.
  • Security or risk allowance – KES 20,000.

Additional applicable allowances include entertainment, house, responsibility, and domestic servant.

3. Senior Resident Magistrate

Senior resident magistrates perform several administrative tasks and preside over resident magistrate court sessions.

They also manage staff working under their jurisdiction.

Senior resident magistrates do not exceed Ksh7 Million when valuing disputes in proceedings.

Senior resident magistrates make Ksh329, 000 each month.

Their salary includes:

  • Risk allowance –KES 20,000,
  • Transport allowance – KES 14,000
  • non-practicing allowance KES 15,000

4. Resident Magistrate

A resident magistrate oversees operations in a resident magistrate court as outlined in the judiciary statute.

In their civil jurisdiction, resident magistrates should not exceed the value of the subject matter beyond Ksh5 Million in a proceeding.

Resident magistrates are the lowest-paid judges in Kenya.

They take home a monthly gross salary of Ksh190, 000, inclusive of:

  • Security allowance -KES 20,000
  • Transport allowance -KES 8,000
  • Non-practicing allowance -KES 15,000. 

How to Become a Magistrate in Kenya

The Judicial Service Commission prides itself as an equal opportunity employer by facilitating a fair selection process of all eligible candidates.

One must meet a set of minimum qualifications to become a Magistrate in Kenya, which are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a reputable Kenyan institution
  • A diploma from the Kenya School of Law
  • Admission to the Advocates Roll
  • At least three years of experience 
  • Meet all chapter six of the constitution qualifications
  • Computer applications competency
  • Have no pending complaints from a previous employer and the Advocates Complaints Commission
  • A practicing certificate 
  • Copies of clearance certificates from various bodies like KRA, DCI, HELB, LSK, EACC, and CRB.
Kenyalogue Contributor


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