Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has asked the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija to increase funding to the Judiciary so that they can recruit more judges.
Justice Dollo made his request during the National Budget Conference at Kololo Independence Grounds on Thursday while speaking on the role of the Judiciary in the national development of the country.
He urged that there is need to increase the budgetary funding for Judiciary in order to increase its functionality and effectiveness throughout the country.
“We need a paradigm shift. The Judiciary has not been given its rightful place to be able to serve the people of this country therefore there is a need for a paradigm shift in the manner we handle the Judiciary,” Justice Dollo noted.
He also revealed that currently, the Judiciary does not have enough judges to dispose of cases, which has increased numbers of case backlogs for the past years.
“Currently we have 6,094 cases unresolved at the Commercial Division of the High Court in Kampala but with only six judges to handle them. These unresolved cases are worth sh4.5 trillion, money that would have been already released into the economy had the cases been resolved. We need at least 10 more judges to help in expediting the clearing of the huge case backlog,” he said.
“The biggest role of the Judiciary is the socio-economic transformation of the country yet this is where the Judiciary is being failed in its role. The Judiciary operates at 37 percent human resource capacity and because of this, there are a number of places in this country where the nearest functional court (Grade One Magistrate) is like the distance between Kampala and Jinja.”
Dollo further noted that if more budgetary funds are channeled to the Judiciary, there will be at least a Chief Magistrate in every district of Uganda and a Grade One Magistrate in every sub-county. Because part of the Judiciary’s plan is to locate appellate courts around the country.
The current plan is to locate appellate courts in hemisphere arrangement (ie) the one in Mbarara (southern hemisphere) and the other in Gulu (northern hemisphere) whereby Kampala appellate court services will be for the central and eastern regions.
Meanwhile, Minister Kasaija revealed that the 2022/23 budget plan is to prioritize the restoration of business activity due to an economic slowdown that was caused by the pandemic. He said this will be done by increasing access to capital.
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