The judiciary has mulled plans to have the Supreme Court extended to various regions throughout the country, the Nile Post has learnt.
As the current setup is, the Supreme Court is located in Kampala and it is where all cases that require its intervention are handled, to the detriment of many, especially from upcountry areas.
Speaking during the Uganda Judicial Officers’ Association (UJOA) Annual General Meeting on Thursday, the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo said a plan has been finalised and sent to cabinet for approval before being implemented.
“The proposal has been discussed by the judiciary council and top management before being submitted to cabinet for approval of the new structure,”Dollo said in a speech read by his deputy, Justice Richard Butera during the virtual meeting.
According to the Chief Justice, the plan will see an increase in the number of Justices for the Supreme Court from the current 10 to 21.
The move will also see the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional Court as headed by the Deputy Chief Justice expanded to all the country’s regions and the number of justices increased to 56 whereas the High Court will have 228 judges.
In the plan already presented to cabinet for approval, the judiciary proposes 160 Chief Magistrates and 514 grade one magistrates throughout the country.
The Chief Justice also announced that the Judiciary Council was inaugurated in March and among its core functions is to advise the Chief Justice on the administration of the judiciary.
“So far three meetings have been held and a number of policy directions have been shaped including the judiciary structure whereas salaries and allowances of staff were approved and are now pending cabinet clearance. When approved, your salaries and allowances will be increased by about 40%,” he told UJOA members.
The Chief Justice however reminded the judicial officers of their duty in the country’s social-economic transformation journey.
“The Judiciary has a role to play in the economic transformation of the economy and in creating the requisite wealth to drive Uganda to the desired middle income status, in line with the Country’s Vision 2040, inter alia, through revenue collection in form of court fees and fines, creating peaceful societies through keeping away murderers, terrorists, robbers, embezzlers and all other criminals, timely resolution of commercial and land disputes thereby liberating money and other factors of production,”Dollo said.
He also underscored the judiciary’s role in creating a conducive environment for investors in the country by guaranteeing personal and financial security.
“It is your duty to extend efforts towards helping the communities harness these milestones,” he said.