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Civil Reforms Committee Hands Over Report to CJ
Hon. Justice Katureebe (CJ) receiving the report from the committee chairman Hon. Justice Dr Bamwine (PJ)

Kampala. On December 4, 2017 the Civil Justice Reform Committee handed over their report to the Chief Justice.

The Principal Judge, Hon. Justice Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine, who also doubled as the Chairperson of the committee handed over the report at ceremony held in Court Room One at the Judiciary Headquarters.

The report contains proposals on how to expedite the disposal of civil cases. The Committee was instituted by earlier this year by Hon. Justice Katureebe after a report by the case backlog reduction committee revealed that, inter-alia; weaknesses in systems, laws and procedure exacerbate the already huge case backlog which has bedeviled the judiciary for years.  

The Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart M. Katureebe, congratulated the committee for completing what he termed as a "rigorous task", pointed to the Statement of Problem of the report as way to indicating how argent the reforms are needed in the civil procedure rules.

"One of the major causes for delayed court processes is the nature of our procedure rules which, in their current form, favour protracted litigation and give leeway to advocates to prolong litigation by filing application after application, seeking endless adjournments, manual case management systems,filing interlocutory appeals, numerous judicial review applications, and numerous constitutional references," the statement of the problem partly reads,"The current rules of procedure contribute to delays in the ability of the court to resolve business disputes and therefore, have a negative impact on the degree to which business people are prepared to invest and carry out business in Uganda."

In his remarks, Hon. Justice Dr Bamwine admitted that the task of reviewing existing civil procedure was a gigantic task and as such they couldn't tackle all the areas considered to be problematic.  "The report highlights challenges faced by the courts in applying the current rules of procedure," Hon. Justice Dr Bamwine said, adding, "Whatever has been proposed is to improve efficiency." He further called upon all members of staff of the Judiciary, the bar, the academia, the Executive and Parliament to study the proposals and later if they are passed into the law, they should support the implementation of the reforms."It is our duty to give effect to the constitutional provisions guaranteeing power to the people," Hon. Justice Bamwine opined, "We ought to give them deserved service that will enhance their happiness." 

The 14 member committee was chaired by the Principal Judge and deputized by Hon. Justice Frederick Martin Egonda-Ntende of the Court of Appeal. Other members on the panel were Hon. Justices:  Geoffrey Kiryabwire (Court of Appeal), David Wangutusi (Head of the Commercial Division of the High Court), Steven Musota (Head of the Civil Division of the High Court), Andrew Bashaija (Head   High Court Land Division), Flavia Anglin Senoga (Deputy Head Criminal Division), Christopher Madrama (Head, Execution Division), and Patricia Basaza Wasswa (Execution Division). Other members on the team are HW Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa (Chief Registrar), Mr Francis Gimara (President, Uganda Law Society), Mr Musa Ssekaana (Advocate), HW Sarah Langa Siu (Deputy Registrar), and Mr Andrew Khaukha (Judiciary Technical Advisor).           

Dubbing the report "a Christmas gift" the Chief Justice pledged to hand over the proposals to the Judiciary's rules committee for further scrutiny.   

The Civil Justice Reform Committee was established by Office Instruction Number I which was issued on July 21, 2017. 

Posted 4th, December 2017
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