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Magistrates Cautioned on Unnecessary Adjournments
Magistrates at the Magistrates Conference in Kampala

KAMPALA: Judicial officers,particularly the Magistrates, were urged to desist from granting unnecessarily long adjournments as they go about adjudicating cases.

The caution was made by Principal Judge, Hon. Justice Dr Yorokamu Bamwine during the Magistrates Conference held in Kampala.

The PJ wondered why small cases are given long adjournments even if the magistrates have the power to do so.

"I am saying so because many times, I see relatively easy matters being given long adjournments and you wonder whether such adjournments are in the interest of justice a tall," Hon. Justice Dr Bamwine wondered in his remarks.

At the same conference,Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart Katureebe, said it was important that the magistrates were meeting the Judiciary top management and that the same could not be over emphasized.

He outlined some of the innovations that are being done to better the administration of justice.

The Chief Justice urged the judicial officers to embrace innovations such as; use of technology,automation of courts, case backlog reduction strategy, judicial integrity,judicial welfare and the administration of Judiciary Bill.

He also expressed concerns that were emerging in the temple of justice like poor handling of land cases, delayed delivery of judgments/rulings which he said are coupled with refusal or failure to submit typed court records for appeal purposes, issuance of exparte decisions, absenteeism and poor time management of court stations.

At the tail end of his remarks, the CJ said efforts are being intensified to improve the terms and conditions of service in the Judiciary.

He also said it's important for each judicial officer to strive towards improving the image of the Judiciary.

The Deputy Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo said the purpose of the one-day Conference is to give participants an opportunity to learn from each other.

He further urged the participants to have faith in the Top Administration. "The Top Administration has never slept when it comes to fighting for Judiciary."

The Conference was held under the theme: "Recognizing the role of Magistrates in dispensing justice: A precursor to enhancing public confidence in the judiciary."

The participants equally had an opportunity to have a candid discussion with members of Top Management and responses to their queries.

The Magistrates raised concerns on handling land matters. The Chief Justice urged them to follow the law and practice directions.

The participants called for the decentralization of the PR function to ably respond to concerns raised by the public. 

The Chairperson of Case Backlog Monitoring Committee and Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Justice Richard Buteera made a presentation on Case Backlog Reduction Strategies. The Registrar on charge of Magistrates Affairs and Data Management, HW Isah Serunkuma made a presentation on the performance of Magistrates Courts.

The Registrar High Court presented a paper on behalf of the Chief Registrar on Tooling and Deployment of Judicial Officers - A case of fairness and equal opportunity.

The Secretary to Judiciary/ Permanent Secretary, Mr. Kagole Expedito Kivumbi, together with senior administrators, were at hand to answer administrative and financial questions posed. 

The Principal Judge, who was also the convener of the conference, closed the day-long deliberations with a call on Judicial Officers to take charge of their stations.

He cautioned the Judicial Officers to always avoid their judgments being branded silly or stupid.

Posted 21st, December 2018
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