4 September 2017

Uganda: Kavuma, Kiryabwire to Hear 61 Cases in a Day

Photo: The Monitor
Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma

Kampala — In a bid to resolve appeals arising from the High Court, the Court of Appeal has introduced a quick mediation approach of resolving the same.

According to a statement from the Judiciary issued last Saturday, this pilot alternative dispute mechanism will see 61 cases settled within one day, which is a remarkable step in resolving cases.

"Two justices of the Court - outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma and Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, who heads the Appellate Court Mediation, will on September 11 handle 31 cases and 30 cases, each, respectively," read in part the Judiciary statement.

Adding: "This will be the Court's maiden attempt at Appellate Mediation, a mechanism popularly used by the courts in the developed world to give quick justice to the people."

The statement quotes the Judiciary Deputy Registrar, Mr Vincent Emmy Mugabo, of having explained that the pilot project is in respect to miscellaneous applications which form the highest backlog in the Court of Appeal.

"If dealt with, they will make the work of the Court of Appeal in respect to the handling of the main suits easier," the statement quotes Mr Mugabo.

On the list for mediation include high-profile cases: Electoral Commission Vs. Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Bob Kasango Vs. Paul Nalukoola Muwanga, Uganda Wildlife Authority Vs. Hon Francis Mukama and Ponsiano Lwakataka Vs. Flugence Mungereza, among others.

The buildup to this pioneer project started last year after a team from Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution, in partnership with Pepperdine University, trained Court of Appeal justices on Appellate Mediation.

In this procedure, parties that are dissatisfied with either the outcome or decision of the High Court will have an opportunity to settle their appeals quickly with the parties they dragged to the Court of Appeal.

They are assisted to settle their matters by a neutral person or judge trained in problem solving.

Speaking during the launch of Appellate Court mediation last year, Justice Kiryabwire said mediation was adopted to reduce case backlog.

The Judiciary court census as of December 2015, indicated that there were 114,801 cases pending in the Judiciary system. Of those , 36,313 were in the Court of Appeal forming 31.63 per cent of total cases.

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