KAMPALA – Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has issued new guidelines on court operations following the easing of the lockdown over coronavirus.
According to the new directives, partial court operations reinstated but must observe the Presidential Directives and Ministry of Health Guidelines and Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs).
For civil cases, Justice Katureebe says each Judicial Officer shall handle not more than five (5) cases cause listed in a day and in each case not more than ten (10) people in bigger court halls and (4) people in small court halls should be attending Court at any given time.
He also all Judicial and non-Judicial Officers, Advocates and Litigants MUST at all times wear a face mask while in Court premises.
“All Judicial and non-Judicial Officers, Advocates and Litigants shall undergo SOPs of temperature measurements and sanitization before accessing Court premises. The officials in the Court Registries shall attend to clients at the Registry in a social distancing manner. One person shall be in the Registry at a time and the rest shall wait outside the Registry at a social distance of not less than 4 meters apart,” the Chief Justice announced on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
He also said Judicial and non-Judicial Officers, Litigants and the Public shall at all material times observe the SOPs as established by the Ministry of Health from time to time while accessing Court premises.
Courts shall continue to hear Applications and urgent matters only until there is a general opening up of public transport. Upon the easing of the general public transport, courts shall resume normal hearings in civil cases subject to the restrictions placed in this guideline 1(a) above.
Justice Katureebe said Criminal Cases shall be limited to Plea taking for Magistrates Courts, Bail Applications across the board, Plea Bargains across the board, and Appeals for the Appellate Courts.
He also said all Judicial Officers will continue to write and deliver Judgments/Rulings in all Courts. The Audio-Visual facilities put in place by the Judiciary shall continue to be used
where necessary, besides other modes of conducting hearings. Where necessary, the mode of conducting Court hearings shall be determined by the Head/In charge of a specific Court/Station.
The Head of the Station/In charge shall be responsible for enforcing Presidential Directives and Ministry of Health SOPs on all Court Users and Staff.
In line with the SOPs issued by the Ministry of Health, the Head of each Court, shall determine the number of staff, to report for duty on a rotational basis
These Guidelines are in addition to all other Guidelines issued before
“These Guidelines may be amended from time to time in line with the National Health Policy,” he said.