KAMPALA — Small Claims Procedure (SCP), a civil claim whose subject matter value does not exceed UGX.10,000,000 has been extended to three more Magistrate Courts including; Apala, Aduku and Aboke as judiciary ensure that access to justice initiative reaches more courts.
The SCP implementation started in 2012 with six pilot Chief Magistrates Courts of Arua, Lira, Mbale, Mengo, Masaka and Kabale. Currently, it has been rolled out to 144 courts countrywide —helping in mediation in matters arising out of the supply of goods, debts, rent among others.
Gulu Resident Judge, Alex Ajiji Mackay who who presided over the launch commended the Registry of Small Claims Procedure, headed by the Deputy Registrar, Mulondo Mastula for considering the three Magistrates Courts in northern Uganda.
Justice Ajiji emphasized the vast benefits of SCP such as time-saving, affordability, self-representation and use of local languages in court.
“A good man knows his debts and makes good of his debts,” he said urging the participants to always cooperate with court, especially upon receipt of demand notices.
He noted that SCP is helping to unlock billions of shillings back to the business communities through quick commercial dispute resolution.
SCP unlocked more than UGX 10.7 billion into the economy in Financial Year 2020/2021 according to its performance report which was launched on Wednesday December 15, 2021 —with judiciary noting that the initiative has positively impacted the delivery of justice in civil matters and thus contributed to economic development of the nation.
A judiciary report on performance of SCM also indicates that the procedure has enhanced access to justice for litigants with commercial disputes whose value does not exceed Shs10 million.
In terms of overall performance, the clearance rate of SCP at claim level in Financial Year2020/2021 was at 93 per cent. The disposal rate stood at 68 per cent while the performance at demand notice level was reported at 74.88 per cent clearance rate. The disposal rate was at 70.57 per cent which accounted for 1.8 billion in collections.
Meanwhile, the Gulu resident judge cautioned against corruption.
“Let us liberate our minds from a tendency of corruption where people come to court with an intention to pay for a service,” he said.
On her part, SCP Deputy Registrar Mastula Mulondo called upon the leaders to embrace and spread the good news about SCP.
An informal and simplified court procedure, which she said, enables people to access justice within 30 days in civil matters whose value does not exceed Shs10million without the need of hiring a lawyer.
Her Worship Jackeline Kagoya, a member of the SCP team, enlightened the LC1 chairpersons who turned up in big numbers about their jurisdiction in civil matters which is limited to matters whose monetary value is below UGX 2million.
The Resident District Commissioner Alebtong District, Mr Ediama Ekaju J.R thanked the Judiciary for the initiatives geared towards bringing justice closer to the people. He called for regular District Chain Linked Committee meetings through the area Chief Magistrate as a platform judicial officers can use to educate local leaders on the law and the new innovations in courts.
The launches were witnessed by Lira/Alebtong Chief Magistrate, HW Abiti Samson Loum, and the Resident Magistrates Grade One; HW Aber Irene (Lira), HW Adong Molly (Aduku), and HW Nyakairu Edgar (Aboke).
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