KAMPALA, Uganda's judiciary cleared a record 175,000 cases in 2017, says Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

Speaking at the opening of the new legal year at the High Court here Monday, Justice Katureebe said the high number of cases disposed of had reduced the backlog of cases to 25 per cent from the 32 per cent of cases in the system. The 2015 court census revealed that the judiciary had a backlog of 11,474 cases.

The Chief Justice attributed the performance to improved funding for sessions in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The increased use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in civil cases and plea bargaining in criminal cases also ensured timely adjudication of cases.

This record performance confirms our commitment to improving the performance of the courts, he said, adding that the High Court last year disposed of 1,350 criminal cases through plea bargaining.

"This impressive performance only goes to show the potential that plea bargaining has in reducing pretrial remands that is partially responsible for the congestion in the prisons, he said.

Katureebe noted that the judicial officers from all the courts also exceeded their performance targets. The best-performing court was the High Court followed by the Court of Appeal.

The industrial strike by judicial officers and government prosecutors damped their performance, the Chief Justice said, before calling on the Government to address the root causes of the strike.


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