KAMWENGE — As part of its on-going efforts to address the case backlog, the Judiciary has launched the ‘Small Claims Procedure’ at Kamwenge Magistrate’s Court.
Lillian Buchan, the acting assistant registrar in Small Claims Procedure courts, presided over the event.
The Judiciary says that the system mainly applies in matters arising out of supply of goods, debts and rent not exceeding UGX10 million and one does not require any legal representation.
Under the system, a complainant can get judgment within a day although the maximum period for delivering judgment is a month. This is opposed to the old system that can even last for five years or more.
Buchan said the aim of launching the small claims procedure is to ease justice of civil cases with claims that do not exceed UGX 10 million.
She adds that the launch in Kamwenge also intends to reduce the backlog of petty cases in the judiciary.
Deo Akugizibwe, the Judicial communications officer said, said that with the procedure, the parties have no room for appealing but in case they find new evidence that can change the outcomes of the case; they can apply for a review.
He said that the small claim procedure will help the common man to access justice within the shortest possible time and reach.
Akugizibwe is also optimistic that the program will eliminate wrangles resulting from small debt cases.
The ‘Small Claims Procedure’ doesn’t involve the use of lawyers, which cuts the costs of the suit.
Kamwenge District Police Commander Richard Asiimwe says the program is timely, considering the number of cases that fall in the small claims category that are reported to be on the rise.
He urged locals to embrace the ‘Small Claims Procedure’ program, adding that the procedure once instituted will help in quick delivery of justice.
Local leaders who attended the launching on Friday welcomed the system saying it’s a blessing to the district. They requested the team to extend such programs to handle cases including domestic violence and land which also remain high.
The small claims procedure does not cover claims against the government, Family disputes relating to the management of an estate, Contracts of service and contracts for service, Suits for defamation, wrongful arrest, wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and seduction.
It also excludes petitions for divorce, nullification of marriage or separation of spouses and claims concerning the validity of a will.
Small Claims Procedure was launched in 2012 in the five Chief Magistrates Courts of Mengo, Masaka, Arua, Lira and Kabale. In 2014, it was extended to the six chief magistrate’s courts of Jinja, Mbarara, Makindye, Mbale, Nakawa and Nabweru.
The program has since been extended to numerous courts including Luwero, Nakasongola, Entebbe and Mpigi becoming the latest.
The other courts include Iganga, Mukono, Kasese, Bushinyi, Fort portal, Soroti, Busia, Masindi, Hoima, Kitgum and Gulu among others.