The Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo has revealed that currently, the judiciary is suffering from the problem of case backlog due to, limited number of judicial officers.
Owiny-Dollo who was speaking at the memorial lecture of Uganda’s first Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka at the High Court grounds on Monday said that cases locked up in Commercial Division of the High Court alone cost over Shs3 trillion.
“This is because the court is lamentably staffed by six judges only; which is woefully inadequate for the disposal of such matter. It’s not difficult to appreciate what such a huge sum of money could do to the development of the country if it were released into the economy,” he said.
Owiny added that the only way to solve this escalating problem is the executive and the legislature to sit and find a way of recruiting judicial officers at all levels of the judiciary in the manner commensurate with the population of the country and in response to other factors militating against achieving access to justice all, which the judiciary strives for.
“The policy of taking services to the people, which government has executed under decentralisation must not be restricted to political and administrative services only. Such policy and process are incomplete without the inclusion of courts of law from the court of Appeal to the Magistrate’s court as an indispensable integral component of the decentralisation process,” he said.
He added that Uganda is lucky since it’s running under democratic constitutional dispensation but if courts remain empty without judicial service democracy will absolutely be lacking deep down in communities since they are over forty Chief Magistrates’ positions that remain vacant.
“We have situations where a Chief Magistrate has to cover an area covering five magisterial areas; thereby inundating such an officer with the near-impossible task. Of course, such a judicial officer’s service can not be felt by the people Court users which at times may create mistrust in courts due to deployment of cases,” he said.
“The function of judicial officers is rendering justice is to sit as courts of Justice; and not Court of statistics. Accordingly, then, pressure must be directed elsewhere; instead of expecting the judiciary to do the impossible with limited capacity at its disposal at pursuant to this.”
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