CJ Launches Annual Performance Report.

In Summary
  • Courts of appeal to be decentralized
  • Judiciary struggling with staffing gaps in courts
  • 51,748   number of case backlog at the end of financial year in review
  • 156,875 cases disposed of in the FY 202/2021
Chief Justice Owiny Dollo

The Judiciary is planning to decentralize the Court of Appeal to the  various regions  to address the issue of case backlog  that remains a challenge to the Judicial system in the country.

Speaking during the launch of   the 2020/2021 Judiciary Annual Performance Report, the Chief Justice e Alfonse Owiny Dollo revealed that they decentralization plan will start with the Western district of Mbarara followed by the Northern district of Gulu in this financial year.

He stated that in line with the enactment of the  administration of the Judiciary Act 2020, it is a statutory requirement that the Judiciary annual performance Report be arraigned to the financial year rather than the normal calendar in fulfillment section 39 (1) of the administration of the Judiciary Act 2020.

 

However, the CJ maintains that even with the staffing levels currently at 37%, the Judiciary still faced a challenge of staffing gaps at all court levels.

"As a result, backlog stood at 51,748 cases (32%) of the total 161,054 cases pending at the end of FY 2020/21.The Commercial Court alone, has over 6,094 unresolved cases worth UGX 5 trillion" said Justice Dollo.


The CJ revealed that Courts disposed of 156,875 cases out of a caseload of 317,929 which accounted for 49%of all cases in the system and that the 156,875 cases disposed of translated into a 20% improvement in case disposal from 130,869 cases disposed of in the FY 2019/20. 

However, the CJ maintains that even with the staffing levels currently at 37%, the Judiciary still faced a challenge of staffing gaps at all court levels.

"As a result, backlog stood at 51,748 cases (32%) of the total 161,054 cases pending at the end of FY 2020/21.The Commercial Court alone, has over 6,094 unresolved cases worth UGX 5 trillion" said Justice Dollo.

"In addition, the Courts recorded a 4% increase in case registration from 159,543 cases in FY 2019/20 to 165,347 cases in FY 2020/21" 
Chief Justice Owiny Dollo

The CJ revealed that Courts disposed of 156,875 cases out of a caseload of 317,929 which accounted for 49%of all cases in the system and that the 156,875 cases disposed of translated into a 20% improvement in case disposal from 130,869 cases disposed of in the FY 2019/20. 

He further revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the performance of the Judiciary in the reporting period since the operations of courts were scaled down to enforce the presidential directives on restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus.

"The Judiciary used video conferencing systems to hear critical cases especially during the lockdown, which system was installed at the Commercial Division, Mbarara High Court, Arua High Court, Masindi High Court and Masaka High Court to enable continuous hearing of cases.

The Chief Justice revealed that  221.5bn shillings including retirement benefits for Judicial officers  in accordance with the AJA 2020, disposal of parliamentary Petitions, and domestic and Utility areas was released .

Out of this 208.7 bn was duly utilized which was a 96.6% absorption rate.

According to the CJ, the disposal and clearance rate was supported with the use of alternative dispute mechanisms such as plea bargaining and mediation programs, small claim procedures, weeding put dormant cases in accordance with the law, use of video conferencing among other measures.

The Judiciary  has also ope rationalized  the new  Administration of the Judiciary Act 2020, which gives effect to Chapter 8 of the Constitution.

 Among other key things, the Judiciary staff structure for both judicial and non-judicial personnel was reviewed to address the demand for Judiciary services.

 Administration Act required the chief justice to publish an annual performance Report for every concluded financial year and the report expound the achievements and challenges and efforts taken by the Judiciary to strengthen the Judiciary in delivery of justice as streamlined in the Judiciary strategic plan.