KAMPALA–The Court of Appeal is set to handle at least 61 cases today through Appellate Mediation the newest alternative dispute mechanism in Uganda.
Interestingly all cases are to be handled by just two judges; outgoing deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma and Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire the head of the Appellate court. They will handle 31 and 30 cases, respectively.
Among the cases include; Electoral Commission Vs Erias Lukwago, Bob Kasango Vs Paul Nalukoola Muwanga, Uganda Wildlife Authority Vs Francis Mukama and Ponsiano Lwakataka Vs Flugence Mungereza, among others.
This will be the court’s maiden attempt at Appellate Mediation, a mechanism popularly used by courts in the developed world to ensure quick justice.
The Judiciary deputy registrar and spokesperson, Vincent Emmy Mugabo, said the mediation is in respect to miscellaneous applications which account for the highest backlog in the Court of Appeal.
“If dealt with, they will make the work of the Court of Appeal in respect to the handling of the main suits easier,” Mugabo said.
Last year, a team from Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution in partnership with Pepperdine University trained Court of Appeal justices on Appellate Mediation.
In this procedure, parties dissatisfied with the outcome/decision of the High Court will have an opportunity to settle their appeals quickly with the parties they dragged to the Court of Appeal.
They are assisted to settle their matters by a neutral person or judge trained in problem solving.
Justice Kiryabwire, speaking during the launch of Appellate Court mediation last year, said mediation was adopted to reduce case backlog.
“Because of the backlog of cases at Court of Appeal, we found out that it is still possible for parties to resolve their disputes without court hearing and making judgement in civil cases. Mediation resolves cases more quickly and allows people to resolve their own cases and reconcile with each other without involving lawyers,” said Justice Kiryabwire.
He said a justice who participates in the mediation process is not allowed to handle the same matter once mediation fails – the matter is automatically allocated to a different justice.