Commercial court holds Shs77 trillion in pending cases, reveals Judiciary

Commercial court holds Shs77 trillion in pending cases, reveals Judiciary
Permanent Secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana ( Right)

The Permanent Secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana, has unveiled that cases worth Shs77 trillion are currently awaiting resolution in the Commercial Court.

Bigirimana emphasized that if sufficient funding were allocated to expedite these cases, Uganda might forego the need to seek loans from entities like the World Bank to finance its national budget.

"I have a categorized list of cases totalling Shs83 trillion as of December 2023, now reduced to Shs77 trillion due to the allocation of judges to the Commercial Court. This tied-up capital does not necessitate borrowing from the World Bank," he declared.

Bigirimana elaborated that these cases span various sectors, including construction, banking, insolvency, and intellectual property, each representing significant sums. Nevertheless, he acknowledged partial responsibility lying with the Finance sector.

"Addressing the case backlog requires substantial investment. That's why we advocate for funds to recruit high court judges and promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms," Bigirimana stressed.

Additionally, Bigirimana announced that President Museveni is expected to inaugurate the newly constructed Supreme Court and Court of Appeal buildings in Kampala on April 12, 2024.

Shs77 trillion is nearly double the national budget for the Financial Year 2023/24, set at Shs52.4 trillion, exclusive of supplementary budget additions.

Records from July 1, 2023, reveal that corporate disputes dominate the court's caseload, accounting for over Shs44 trillion, followed by banking at Shs10.5 trillion.

According to reports, during the Financial Year 2021/2022, courts disposed of a combined total of 205,967 cases from a caseload of 373,974, marking a significant improvement compared to the previous year.

The report also indicates an increase in Grade One Magistrates from 186 to 301, the launch of the Electronic Court Case Management System (ECCMIS), the conclusion of over 160 election disputes, the recovery of over Shs14 billion through Small Claims Procedure, and the resolution of 1,851 cases through mediation.

The Judiciary continues to advocate for increased funding to address staffing gaps, improve access to justice, and expedite pending projects, aiming to reduce the need for citizens to travel long distances to seek legal recourse.

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