YUMBE —Small Claims Procedure (SCP), a civil claim whose subject matter value does not exceed UGX. 10,000,000a has been extended to two more Magistrate courts including Yumbe and Kaabong.
Judiciary came up with this procedure as a new form of mediation in matters arising out of the supply of goods, debts, and rent.
The initiative was launched by former Chief Justice Bart Katurebe in 2011.
The judiciary says, it aims at decongesting the prisons and reducing case backlog.
The rollout at Yumbe Court was presided over by Resident Judge of Arua, Justice Isa Serunkuma, who asked the litigants to embrace SCP.
“This procedure is not just helping judiciary in case backlog reduction but also helping you the litigants in receiving justice cheaply and faster.”he said.
Yumbe RDC, Ms. Carolyn Angolere thanked the Judiciary for bringing the initiative to Yumbe.
“I am barely three weeks in this district and I’ve already received complaints about debtors. Now that SCP is here, I shall definitely send them to court to be handled.”
She also urged police to embrace the initiative.
“Police should send debtors directly to court and not detain them.”
She also promised to continue engaging the people on small claims and gave the Judiciary free talk time on the radio to help spread the gospel.
Present at the launch was the Chief Magistrate/Deputy Registrar of Arua, Dr. Daniel Lubowa who applauded the Grade 1 Magistrate, Hillary Kiwanuka for his excellency.
” I believe this court is under staffed, but I want to thank the G1 for his hard work and always keeping the court doors open.”
He also mentioned that him and the judge are working on how to get more staff for the court and a Chief Magistrate.
“The Resident judge and I have noted the shortage of manpower and we shall definitely find a way to provide more staff and bring a Chief Magistrate here.”
During the sensitisation of the procedure, Ms. Ritah Mukundane, one of the members of the SCP Secretariat, said small claims handles civil matters that don’t exceed ten million shillings but also doesn’t handle land disputes, divorce disputes and other matters.
“It’s true the initiative handles civil matters not above 10 million, but we need people to know that land, divorce, family disputes, rape and murder can not be heard in this court even if the matters mentioned involve the said range of money.”
In Kaabong, the Grade 1 Magistrate , Nicholas Aisu, who also handles Kotido and Abim court was glad judiciary had launched in Kabong but asked they launch in Kalanga too.
“We are soon establishing a court in Kalanga so as to bring justice closer to the people there, and it will be great if the same initiative is launched there.”
He also thanked NWSC for assisting the court with latrines while they finish constructing their own.
The launch was presided over by the deputy RDC, Mr. Epitu Gady who said SCP is definitely going to help his office. ” I am a newly appointed deputy RDC and also a member of the National Youth Council of Uganda. I’m glad that SCP has been launched here because even in the president’s office, complaints of debtors are many and need to be delt with. The Judiciary has really helped us and it shall greatly support reduce claims in my office.”he said.
He also urged the people to embrace it because it’s affordable.”
Most of you can not afford lawyers, it’s here to help all of us at a cheap cost, I urge you to embrace it.”
He also asked the Magistrate to make time and come to his office to discuss the transport issue. “My office is ready to assist in any way when it comes to delivering justice in all the areas you cover, please make time and we discuss further, and we are looking forward to Kalanga court.”
The Grade 1 magistrate of Mukono, Jacklyn Kagoya who represented the Ag. Registrar of SCP Lillian Bucyana in Yumbe and Kabong districts asked that people to embrace the procedure because it doesn’t need lawyers. “With this procedure you don’t need a lawyer hence making it affordable and it’s also a quick way of getting justice.”