Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | High Court has set a target of clearing 220 land cases in 11 special sessions across the country in the next 60 days. A statement issued by the Judiciary Principal Communications Officer, Solomon Muyita over the weekend, shows that the pilot session commences today.
According to the statement, six of the sessions will be held at the Land Division in Kampala targeting 120 cases. Five other sessions will be held at Mukono, Mbale, Masaka, Mpigi, Kabale and Jinja High Courts.
Each judicial officer has been assigned 20 cases to dispose off within 60 days. Our projection is that each land case can be concluded in three days,” said the Acting Judiciary Chief Registrar, Tom Chemutai.
The pilot sessions are jointly funded by the World Bank through its Competitiveness Enterprise Development Project and Ugandan government.
Chemutai reveals that priority has been given to cases that have been in the court system for more than two years and those affecting implementation of key government projects, such as road construction.
While meeting World Bank officials recently, the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe said the special sessions have potential of expediting resolution of land cases as well as attracting future funding to address land adjudication question in a more substantive manner.
Case backlog in the judiciary remains a huge challenge in the country. Land cases form the biggest chunk comprising 52 percent of the cases. There are 11,952 cases in the Land Division, half of which are in case backlog. Chemutai attributes the backlog in land cases to mainly shortage of judicial officers, low levels of automation in processing cases and inadequate resources.
Other reasons include lack of transport for judicial officers to visit disputed land, increased filing of cases fueled by a growing economy and pressure on economic resources particularly land. Chemutai says that failure to resolve land disputes has cost the country a lot of money in delayed implementation of infrastructural projects.
He also says investment projects have equally been affected by slow land adjudication, making Uganda a high cost investment destination. He says Phase II of the project will be extended to land matters in other parts of the country including cases in magistrate’s courts.