By Zainab Namusaazi Ssengendo
Over shs320 million was recovered in the Masaka region through the Small Claims Procedures (SCP) in the last financial year from both small claims and claim notices.
This was disclosed at the ceremonial opening of the small claims court desk at the Masaka City court on Thursday by her worship Hajjati Masturah Mulondo, who is the registrar in charge of the small claims procedure.
“The small claim courts recovered Shs 3 billion in the entire country in the last financial year 2020/2021 from about 6,677 cases nationwide whereby 6677 cases were filed, 3,284 disposed of, and 770 cases are pending,” He said.
Since the introduction of Small Claims Courts in the country, Mulondo said that the backlog of cases in various magistrate courts has significantly decreased.
Sylvia Nvanungi, the chief magistrate of Masaka, noted that unlike other court cases, the small claims procedure lasts for only 30 days and they are not appealed against.
Nvanungi urged the Masaka community to embrace the small claims procedure to save time and funds which they have been spending in the court process.
“The small claims are cheap in the sense that there are no plaint charges and there are no lawyers involved, meaning that individual members represent themselves, which equates to fewer legal bills,” she said.
She mentioned that the above courts handle cases less than Shs 10 million, and the majority of these debts have been unjustly referred to the police, who are not authorized to handle such matters.
Deo Mulindwa, chairman LC1 Mutuba –Musis gardens in Masaka city, said that their offices have been struggling with a multitude of small claim cases and the new court will offload a huge burden from their shoulders.
Peter Mugisha Ahumuza, the Masaka city grade one magistrate who will be in charge of small claims courts, urged leaders and the business community to become ambassadors in their respective areas to inform. people about the arrangement.
“Small claims court is under commercial court and cases handled are financially related we there don’t expect to see people flooding police with such claims again as it has been the case,” He said
He said that from 2012 when the first pilot was rolled out until 2017 when the courts were operationalized, they have significantly helped reduce cause backlog and recover a lot of funds.
Ronald Katende, the Masaka city resident commissioner applauded the judiciary for the innovation.
Over 142 small claim procedures (SCP) have been embraced in the whole country utilizing the fast access of justice initiative that started in 2012.