Anthony Wameli, another city lawyer and Director of Wameli and Co Advocates, says Arbitration is a safe landing for the parties since its provides a win win situation for the parties involved. His only concern is that arbitration is informal.
As the judiciary battles with the case backlog, legal experts are advising Ugandans to embrace arbitration as one of the easiest mechanisms of resolving conflicts.
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution mechanism or part of the umbrella alternative where parties opposed to litigation opt to decide, who should lead the mediation and where they should resolve a dispute from in case it arises.
Arbitration is provided for under the Arbitration and Conciliation act. The act mandates parties to appoint and decide the number of arbitrators. Section 5 of the act requires a judge or magistrate to stop proceeding where parties choose arbitration.
It states that “A judge or magistrate before whom proceedings are being brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party so applies after the filing of a statement of defense and both parties having been given a hearing, refer the matter back to the arbitration…”
Francis Gimara, the former President Uganda Law Society, says arbitration is different from the rest of judicial formats because the parties voluntarily chose to participate in it, especially in civil and commercial matters.
//Cue In: “We've got….
He however, says arbitration hasn't picked up in Uganda because of the current set up of the judicial system, lack of political will to encourage and fund arbitration processes and nature of training of lawyers.
According to Gimara, majority of Uganda's lawyers are trained in litigation. Gimara however, notes that there is need to sensitise court users on arbitration because of its benefits.
//Cue In: “We have….
Cue Out:…..banking sector,”//
Retired Major Ronald Iduli, an advocate in the General Court Martial, says he would opt for arbitration because it saves time compared to litigation.
Anthony Wameli, another city lawyer and Director of Wameli and Co Advocates, says Arbitration is a safe landing for the parties since it's provides a win win situation for the parties involved. His only concern is that arbitration is informal.
One of the major cases under arbitration is the Shillings 7 billion case between Church of Uganda and Land Coin Limited. Land Coin dragged Church of Uganda to court for backtracking on its agreement to pay them an agreed commission for recovering church land.
Church of Uganda contracted land coin in 2015 to conduct a study and verify the extent of the church's interest in a piece of land measuring 15 acres in Entebbe occupied by Civil Aviation Authority, China Communications Construction Company and the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry.
According to the firm, they agreed with the church that the study will be done on a commission basis. The firm was expected to get 10 percent of the total value of the land after submitting a report and or 15 percent if the work is done up to recovery of the said land or when it is compensated.
The chief government valuer produced a report in 2016 showing the value of the land in a response to a presidential directive to verify the claims of the church on the land that is now occupied by government. In the report, the Chief government valuer indicated that the land was worth Shillings 48.9 billion.
According to the break down, Shillings 25.9billion was the value for the land, Shillings 7.7billion disturbance allowance and Shillings 15.3 billion for Mesne profits. Mesne means the profits received by the tenant for wrongful possession and recovered land by the landlord.
As a result, Land Coin Limited was expected to bag more than Shillings 7.3 billion about 15 percent of the total value in line with their agreement with the church. However, the church reportedly backtracked on the agreement and decided to pay only 10 percent of the total value.
As a result, Land Coin Limited dragged the church of Uganda board of trustees led by the Archbishop Stanley Ntagali to High Court Commercial Division for breach of contract. Court directed the two parties to go for mediation and resolve the dispute. The matter is yet to be resolved.