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How 6 new court circuits will boost justice access – Monitor

Rukungiri Chief Magistrate’s Court buiding that also shelters Rukungiri High Court. PHOTO / RONALD KABANZA
By  Monitor Team

Court users have welcomed the operationalisation of new high courts in six districts, saying this quicken the justice dispensation process.
The new courts are Tororo, Iganga, Rukungiri, Luwero, Hoima and Moroto.
This has since seen 3,567 cases transferred to the new circuits, with Rukungiri taking 418, Hoima 596, Moroto 322, Tororo 518, Iganga 1115, and Luweero 598.
Previously, litigants in Tororo were going to Mbale High Court, those in Rukungiri and Kanungu districts were hearing their cases at Kabale High Court and those in Iganga had to travel to Jinja High Court.
Ms Jenipher Mamayi, a teacher at Nkuutu Memorial Secondary School in Bugweri District, at the weekend said the posting of a High Court Judge to Iganga will expedite hearing of cases.
She said many cases were being delayed by litigants’ failure to report to court in Jinja given the long distance.
Mr Joseph Mugisha, a resident of Bwambara Sub-county in Rukungiri District, said the establishment of the Rukungiri High Court will reduce the burden of travelling 125 kilometres to Kabale District in search of justice.
“Two years ago, I had a case at Rukungiri Magistrates Court, but it was transferred to Kabale High Court and I never went there due to lack of resources to feed and transport witnesses,” he said.
Mr Geoffrey Kyomukama, the Rukungiri District chairperson, said with the court, litigants can breathe a collective sigh of relief because they have been struggling to travel to Kabale District.
The newly-deployed Rukungiri resident Judge, Mr Tom Chemutai, in an interview with Daily Monitor, said plans are underway to sensitise the communities on the rule of law.
He said: “We are handling cases that have been at Kabale High Court, but originating from Rukungiri and Kanungu districts; so, people should not continue travelling to Kabale High Court but check on the noticeboard for dates of their cases.”
In Tororo, a cross section of leaders have applauded the Judiciary for considering opening a High Court in Tororo District.
Mr John Okeya, the district chairperson, said many people were finding it hard to access justice at Mbale High Court because of the distance.
Ms Eunice Akoth, the councillor representing Mukuju and Akaot sub-counties, said establishing a High Court in Tororo District is a relief to them.
Mr Joseph Adilu, a resident of Asinge Central Village in Morukatipe Sub-county, said his family had a matter at the High Court in Mbale, but because of limited resources, they had to give up.
The Chief Registrar of the Courts of Judicature, Ms Sarah Langa Siu, at the weekend said the operationalisation of the six new High Courts, will enhance both physical and functional access to justice.
“The presence of judges in the new circuits is part of the transformation agenda of the Judiciary. The agenda aims to address the causes of backlog, part of which has been staffing gaps but which is progressively being addressed through recruitment, deployment and operationalisation of new circuits in the High Court,” Ms Langa said by telephone.
Compiled by Philip Wafula, Joseph Omollo, Fred Wambede, Felix Ainebyoona, Ronald Kabanza & Anthony Wesaka
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