Mediation to be rolled out in all JLOS institutions

KAMPALA. Mediation, which is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to the traditional long system of hearing court cases, will soon be rolled out in most of the 17-Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) institutions.
According to Commercial Court judge David Wangutusi who is spear-heading the task force, mediation will lead to reduction in case backlog in most of the JLOS institutions that hear out cases and deal with statistics.
He cited institutions like the Law Council that has a backlog of cases filed against errant lawyers, Judicial Service Commission that has a huge case backlog against the undisciplined judicial officers and Uganda Registration Services Bureau, among others.
Mediation is a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. Typically, a third party (mediator) assists the parties to negotiate a settlement out of court.
It is cheap, quicker and promotes reconciliation between the warring parties, according to Judge Wangutusi.
Mr Wangutusi, the head of Commercial court explained that once the mediation mechanism takes root amongst other JLOS institutions, will result in few cases filed before the courts.
He justified this by explaining that most of the disputes handled by other JLOS institutions will be resolved under mediation mechanism and will not spill over to the courts of law to increase on the case backlog.
The judge explained that this alternative dispute resolution has so far worked wonders for the judiciary that adapted the mechanism a number of years ago.
Latest statistics obtained from the judiciary indicate that there are 16,782 pending civil cases in the high court, 17,363 cases in the Chief Magistrates Court and 3,888 cases in Grade One Magistrates Courts.
In total, the civil case backlog in the country stands at 38,033 cases.
To that effect, while addressing selected media in his chambers at Commercial Court, Justice Wangutusi said the judiciary had received foreign funding to help them train over 400 mediators across the board so as to spread out the same message to the general public.
He further revealed that the Judiciary intends to make it mandatory for all courts, including magistrates’ courts to allow civil cases first go into mediation before going for trial in court in case the former fails.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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