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ULS Awards CJ, PJ Emeritus for Distinguished Service at Opening of the New Law Year Event
Hon. Justice Katureebe (Chief Justice) receiving Hon. Kadaga (speaker) at the opening of the New Law Year 2020

The High Court grounds in Kampala literally lit up as Judicial Officers, members of the legal fraternity and representatives of the central government gathered for the launching of the New Law Year on Friday (January 31, 2020).

It is at the New Law Year that the Judiciary accounts to the public for the authority and resources entrusted by the people in the Judiciary.

The Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart M Katureebe, presented the State of the Judiciary address where he revealed that the Judiciary had disposed of 181,137 cases. "...the Judiciary made tremendous strides that are worth hailing. Inspite of the limited human resource and other resources, the Judiciary has managed to dispose of a total number of 181,137 cases," he said.

He said the Judiciary has put in place systems, services and innovations intended to improve justice delivery, give quick returns and act more transparently. He went on to enumerate the successes of Plea Bargaining, Mediation and Small Claims Procedure.

"I have the pleasure to report that, for the first time in Uganda, convicts in prison out-numbered the inmates on remand as the number of pre-trial detainees reduced from 51.4% in financial year 2017/18 to 47.7% in 2018/19. The average stay on remand also reduced by 7.7% from 19.5 months in the previous financial year to 18 months in 2018/19."

The Uganda Law Society president, Mr. Simon Peter Kinobe, thanked the Chief Justice for the innovations including the new regulations that have made it impossible for counsel not waste court's time.

The lawyers hailed the Chief Justice and the Principal Judge Emeritus, Hon. Justice Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine for championing the cause of improving the administration of justice especially to the vulnerable through innovations such as Plea Bargaining, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Small Claims Procedure, which he said are timely and cost effective.

The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga appealed to the Attorney General to take up the Administration of Judiciary Bill to make sure that it is passed into law as soon as possible.

The bill seeks to operationalize provisions of the constitution relating to the judiciary, administration of justice, improve efficiency and effectiveness of the courts, strengthen the independence of courts and streamline the administration of Courts.

The Speaker's statements were in response to the Attorney General, Mr. William Byaruhanga who said that the Bill has been a tale of promises that are not yielding results.

The Vice President, Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who delivered a speech on behalf of the President who presented President, reiterated the need for the courts to prioritize disposal of cases related to land and commercial disputes expeditiously.

The President commended the Judiciary leadership for sustaining the fight against corruption through the courts, particularly the Anti-Corruption Court.

He added that the Government will therefore continue supporting the Judiciary to enable you achieve your mandate.

The climax of the launch of the New Law Year event were the Achievement Awards by the Uganda Law Society which were presented to the Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart M Katureebe and the Principal Judge Emeritus, Hon. Justice Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine, for their for their distinguished service and innovations introduced in the Judiciary to improve access to justice.

Posted 3rd, February 2020
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