The legal system is based on the 1963 constitution, the Judicature Act of 1967, and common law court precedent. Kenya accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations. Customary law, to the extent it does not conflict with statutory law, is used as a guide in civil matters concerning persons of the same ethnic group.
The judicial system consists of the Court of Appeal, which has final appellate jurisdiction, and subordinate courts. The High Court, sitting continuously at Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu, and periodically at Eldoret, Kakamega, Nyeri, Kitale, Kisii, and Meru, consists of a chief justice and 24 associate judges, who are appointed by the president of the republic. The High Court has both civil and criminal jurisdiction, serving as an appellate tribunal in some cases and as a court of first instance in others. Lower courts are presided over by resident magistrates and district magistrates. Questions of Islamic law are determined by qadis' courts. Military courts handle court-martials of military personnel.
Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, the president has considerable influence over the judiciary. The president appoints the High Court Judges with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The president also has authority to dismiss judges, the attorney general, and other officials upon recommendation of a tribunal appointed by the president.