BUSUNJU—Small Claims Procedure (SCP), a civil claim whose subject matter value does not exceed UGX. 10,000,000 million has been extended to Busunju Magistrate court in fresh efforts to extend justice to more citizens.
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 judiciary says, it aims at decongesting the prisons and reducing case backlog.
The rollout at Busunju Court was presided over by SCP Registrar Mustola Mulondo who encouraged members of the public to embrace the procedure—noting that ‘it’s effective, sufficient and doesn’t need a lawyer’.
Mulondo also revealed that the much sought-after initiative would soon be extended to more courts Bukomero, Ntwetwe, Namayingo, Mulanda, Kibuuku, Bukwo, Serere and Amuria .
According to local authorities, residents are grappling with several money related disputes ranging from landlords to business loans but prefer taking matters to LCs whose mandates are limited to small matters.
Her Worship Jackeline Kagoya, a member of the SCP team and Mukono Grade One Magistrate
enlightened the LC1 chairpersons about their jurisdiction in civil matters which is limited to matters whose monetary value is below UGX 2million.
“The law does not allow LCs to handle matters above 2 million, whereas Small Claims court handles up to UGX. 10 million,” she said, urging them to always pay their debts to avoid court-related stress.
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 nearly 150 courts countrywide —helping in mediation in matters arising out of the supply of goods, debts, rent among others.
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.