Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Over 328 million Shillings have been recovered through the Small Claims Procedure conducted by grade one Magistrate courts in Masaka over the last year.
Mastulah Mulondo, the Chief Registrar in Charge of Small Claim Procured in the Judiciary, said that the money had been locked up in several small commercial disputes filed in the Masaka Chief Magistrate’s court registry. She was presenting a report during a court open day session conducted at Masaka City Council court on Thursday.
According to the report, the money was recovered from 11,675 small claims disputes that were disposed of by the magistrates attached to the Masaka circuit through a more simplified and speedy process that does not subject parties to the long litigation route.
The Small Claims Procedure which was introduced by the Judiciary in 2012 is allocated a timeline of only 30 days and targets litigants who seek to recover monetary debts of not more than 10 million Shillings. Mulondo observes that procedure is enabling the judicial officers to settle many cases in a short period hence addressing the backlog in their registries.
She adds that the Judiciary has accordingly found it necessary to enrol the newly established Masaka City Council Court among the Small Claims Procedure service providers as a way of taking the system closer to the community.
Masaka Chief Magistrate Sylvia Nvanungi observes that the speed at which commercial civil cases are being settled has generally improved since 2017, when the Small Claims Procedure was introduced in the area, compared to a time when the litigants had to wait for specific sessions to have the matters heard.
She explains that the system is registering a breakthrough because it better serves the interest of the majority of people in the area, who still are informal in their business transactions.
Deo Mulindwa, the L.C I Chairperson for Mutuba-Musisi Cell in Masaka says that the procedure provides a suitable response to the demands of the ordinary people who have been suffering exploitation by unscrupulous security officers who hire d to pursue debtors.
He asked the judiciary to work out plans of further popularizing the system such that the communities get fully aware of it which will eventually also help in addressing criminality arising from people fighting over debts defaulting.