Averting case backlog: Chief Justice calls for more funding towards Alternative Dispute Resolution

Averting case backlog: Chief Justice calls for more funding towards Alternative Dispute Resolution
Chief Justice Owiny- Dollo

The Judiciary continues to struggle with case backlog reporting 43,161 cases remain unresolved as of December 2023. This however represents a drop from 52,102 cases in 2020

Some of the factors to this reduction have been the application of alternative dispute resolution interventions including plea-bargaining, small claims, mediation of civil disputes, community service orders and diversion of Juvenile and domestic cases.

"Only 10% of the cases reach court," said Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo at the commissioning of the new twin buildings, home to both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

The chief justice now wants more funds channelled to alternative dispute resolutions to avert the unending case backlog challenge the Judiciary is facing.

According to the chief justice, they " intend to identify African methods of dispute resolution and popularize them across the country and beyond".

The Alternative Justice Systems, (AJS) were launched in June 2023. The Judiciary looks at these as "cheap and acceptable means of settling disputes".

Over time, the Judiciary has recruited new staff following approvals by both cabinet and parliament to have the Judiciary have more staff especially judges and magistrates among others.

The number of judges of the high court has since increased from 56 to 81, registrars have increased from 44 to 86, chief magistrates now stand at 92 from 54 while grade one magistrates have increased from 165 to 37.

All these efforts are geared towards resolving especially the challenge of case backlog.

In the financial year 2022/2023 courts disposed of 266 323 cases out of 422,772 caseload. Some of these cases (128,652) have been brought forward from the 2021/2022 financial year.

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