Each district to get a chief magistrate - Judiciary

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Each district to get a chief magistrate - Judiciary
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has issued the Magistrates Court Instrument 2024 No.11 that will see each district headed by a chief magistrate.

According to the Judiciary’s statement dated June 7, the decision to have a chief magistrate in each district was made after consultations between the CJ and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

As a result of this new statutory instrument, the number of magistrial areas has increased from 82 to 157, and the number of magistrate courts has gone up from 396 to 696.

Owiny-Dollo explained that the aim of this expansion is to have district/city courts led by Chief Magistrates, and county/constituency courts staffed by Magistrate Grade I.

“It is the desire of the judiciary that people should nolonger move hundreds of kilometres to seek for court services,” he said.

Additionally, Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court will now handle civil matters in addition to criminal matters, while Mengo Chief Magistrates Court will now handle criminal matters alongside civil matters.

“All civil matters which were previously filed and pending hearing under the Mengo Chief Magistrates Court, but originating from the Central Division of Kampala Capital City shall be transferred to Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court,” the instrument reads in part.

Accordingly, to coordinate this transition, a taskforce led by Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Sui will oversee the operations of the two courts.

Other aspects of the new Instrument include designating all Remand Homes as Magistrate Courts to improve juvenile justice, as well as the establishment of courts in all municipalities.

Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo said more courts and justice centers will be built nationwide to fully implement the new Instrument and that there will be a standard court design for all court levels.

Chief Registrar Langa Sui noted that the goal of establishing more courts is to improve access to justice, reduce case backlog, and make judicial services more accessible to the public.

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