Munobe revealed that they plan to set aside resources from this quarter to facilitate the planned sessions and asked the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera and Case Backlog Committee to grant them permission to implement the strategy.
The Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera has rejected a proposal
by Chief Magistrates in Greater Luwero to organize inter-jurisdictional session
hearings to clear the case backlog. According to the case backlog report by
Luwero Chief Magistrate’s Court there are 491 cases as of May 5th 2021.
These include 193 cases of land, 225 civil cases and 73 criminal cases.
The Nakasongola Chief Magistrate area has 46 criminal and 16
civil cases including land matter. Samuel Munobe, the Luwero Chief Magistrate,
says that the case backlog is a result of illiterate litigants, litigants who
can’t afford to bring witnesses to court, lack of vehicles and funds to visit
the contested areas by magistrates. He also cited the frequent transfer of
judicial officers, frivolous or unnecessary miscellaneous applications that
clog the system leading to case backlog.
Munobe also blamed Prisons for failure to bring suspects to
court because of the COVID-19 pandemic, unserious litigants who exploit the court
process through endless adjournments to delay or disappoint opponents, bush
lawyers and widespread belief in witchcraft among others as causes of the backlog.
Munobe revealed that they had resolved to employ a practical approach among
others forming two teams to hold inter-jurisdictional session hearings to clear
He explained that they plan to deploy a team at specific
court to clear the backlog come July 2021, saying they intend to start with
Nakasongola magistrate’s court. Munobe revealed that they plan to set aside
resources from this quarter to facilitate the planned sessions and asked the
Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera and Case Backlog Committee to grant them
permission to implement the strategy.
//Cue in: “In our jurisdiction …
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While meeting Magistrates from Nakasongola, Nakaseke and Luwero to dialogue on the
strategies to reduce the case backlog, the Chief Registrar of Court of
Judicature, Sarah Langa Siu wondered what will happen if the magistrates move
from one duty station to another without leaving anyone behind to attend to the
matters before their court.
that the Judiciary is aware that some case backlog is a result of inadequate
judicial officers and resources, which they are slowly addressing. Reacting to the requests by the magistrates, the Deputy
Chief Justice, Richard Buteera said he wouldn’t support the inter-jurisdictional
session hearings, saying they may create case backlog at duty stations while
the magistrates are away.
Buteera instead advised the magistrates to embrace
alternative dispute resolution or mediation and small claims procedure among
other strategies to reduce case backlog.
// Cue in: “But we have ….
Cue out;…to encourage”//
The Magistrates in Luwero committed to reducing the case backlog before 15th June
this year whereas those from Nakasongola promised to do it within the next four
months. Apart from the case backlog, there are 2068 pending cases in Luwero
magistrate courts (comprising of Luwero and Nakaseke districts) while
Nakasongola has 297 pending cases.
151 of these are before the Chief Magistrate
whereas 146 are before the Grade one magistrate. A case is considered backlog
after spending two years in the justice system without being concluded.