By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Uganda Law Society (ULS) Executive Council led by President Pheona Wall has on Thursday last paid a courtesy call to the Chief Justice of Uganda, RT.Hon.Alfonse C. Owiny-Dollo at the Supreme Court to discuss various matters affecting administration of justice and how effectively the lawywrs and the judges can work together.
Chief Justice Alfonse C. Owiny-Dollo congratulated the new ULS Executive upon their election noting that the lawyer’s body brings members of the legal fraternity under one roof.
Alfonse C. Owiny-Dollo described the ULS as an indispensable player in the justice system. He applauded the Society for boldly coming out on defending the rule of law.
In regards to the Administration of the Judiciary Act, the CJ informed the ULS leadership that the Judiciary will soon hold a symposium for its stakeholders to discuss the new law. “For the first time, our budget will be prepared by us and not the Ministry of finance” adding that the ULS will be invited when the time comes.
Ms. Wall used the visit to applaud Justice Owiny-Dollo for his appointment as Chief Justice and for championing innovations in the Judiciary.
“My Lord there is a lot of change going on in the Judiciary especially with the use of technology in courts and we hope ULS can work together with the Judicial Training Institute to get some training for lawyers because this is going to be a challenge for some of the members who do not even use computers.”
The CJ commended this move adding that it is important for all justice actors to be brought on board to ensure efficiency.
The UUganda Law Society President also commended the Judiciary for the Court of Appeal regional sessions and the SGBV sessions. “This has helped to dispose of several crucial cases which has improved delivery of justice.”
She raised concern on the lack of a witness programme which has caused many potential witnesses not to testify out of fear of stigmatization.
Ms. Wall decried the limited number of Judicial Officers; which has caused unnecessary delays in the administration of justice. Another concern was on some courts that cause-list so many matters and end up hearing none.
On this matter, Justice Owiny-Dollo cautioned Judicial Officers against this practice saying they are not noted judges of statistics but rather administrators of the law.
Ms. Diana Angwech, the ULS Vice President said it was important for the Judiciary and the Bar to work together to ensure that the monster of backlog is dealt with.
On the issue of backlog, the CJ said the biggest challenge is the number of Judicial Officers. Adding that although technology can enhance and quicken justice dispensation, ultimately judicial officers also have to be increased in numbers to reduce on case backlog.
Alfonse C. Owiny-Dollo reiterated the commitment of the Judiciary to work with the Uganda Law Society [ULS] in matters regarding the administration of justice.