KAMPALA – The Industrial Court in Uganda on Friday held its Annual Court Open Day at the Ntinda Vocational Training Institute.
Under theme, Enhancing Speedy Dispensation of E-Justice in the Administration of Labour Justice, the function was presided over by Supreme Court Justice, Mike Chibita, who represented the Chief Justice.
The day’s events begun with a procession from the venue of the Open Day through to the Minister’s Village in Ntinda.
To conform to SOPs as outlined by Ministry of Health the activities were streamed online with only selected stakeholders physically present.
In his address, Justice Chibita commended the Court, which specialises in labour and employment matters, for its high success rate despite its procedural challenges and resource limitations.
“The Court has been able to achieve a lot despite its limited presence in the Country. In the year under discussion, you all agree with me that Industrial Court has completed a huge number of cases through sessions carried out in many parts of the Country,” he said.
Justice Chibita also commended the Ministry of Gender for its unwavering support to the Court.
“I would like to appreciate the Minister of Labour, Gender and Social Development for the commitment to see that the Court is strengthened and resourced to ensure its functionality and accessibility to the many people in need of this services,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Gender, Mr Aggrey David Kibenge’s remarks delivered by Mr Martin Wandera (Director of Labour, Employment and Occupational Safety and Health at the Ministry), applauded the Court administration for its transparency and efficiency.
“The Court has built a strong reputation of trust, one that has made workers and employees to come to the Court expecting nothing but justice,” the PS’ remarks read, in part.
The Chief Judge of the Industrial Court, Justice Ruhinda Asaph Ntegye, observed that the theme of the event was premised on the goal of enhancing speedy dispensation of labour justice through e-justice.
In a bid to make labour justice accessible and less expensive, Justice Ruhinda said that the Court had set up nine sub registries in High Courts circuits as collecting centres for case. These include at Masaka, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Mubende, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale and Jinja.
“The court also holds regional circuits in different regions of the country where we have registered tremendous success”, said the Chief Judge, adding that sessions were held in Masaka, Lira, Gulu, Jinja, Mbale and Fort portal.
He said there were plans to open more sub-registries and circuits as they also wait for the appointment of three more judges to the Court as approved by Cabinet, so as to improve the Court’s effectiveness.
The Court’s Registrar, Sylvia Nabaggala, said the Industrial Court has so far registered 4,042 cases since 2014 when it was operationalised. Of these, 1,673 cases have been completed which leaves a pending total of 2,486 cases. The Court’s backlog stands at 1,417.
Despite the heavy workload, the Court has only two judges who must sit at the same time at any given court session if Coram is to be constituted. Coram of the court is also composed of a panel of at least three members to represent employers, employees and one independent panelist. The Court is also supported by 15 administrative staff.
Justice Linda Tumusiime Mugisha (a judge of the Industrial Court), Kunihira Agnes (Workers’ Representative in Parliament) and Alex Asiimwe (Commissioner Labour, Industrial Relations & Productivity at the Gender and Labour Ministry) were among the senior officials present at the open day.