Judiciary to re-gazette Magisterial areas

Principal Judge Dr Flavian Zeija while officiating at the Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court Open Day. Photo: @JudiciaryUG

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Judiciary has revealed plans to re-gazette magisterial areas in a bid to bring services closer to the people.

This was revealed by the Principal Judge Dr Flavian Zeija while officiating at the Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court Open Day. During the open day, the Judiciary visits communities to get feedback about their services and challenges faced by the court users in relation to the dispensation of Justice.

While at the event, hundreds of people reported to the Judiciary officials about the delayed conclusion of cases, failure to know how to claim bail money, and traveling longer distances to access justice.

They also told Dr Zeija that they donated land for the construction of Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court and when its operations started, the court started hearing cases from Nansana Municipality where it is located. But when the Nansana Grade One Magistrates Court, was established, there is confusion on which court should hear cases from the three Divisions.

The locals also stated that besides Nabweru and Nansana Courts, sometimes they are informed that the cases will be heard from Wakiso Magistrates Court which is far from them.

Dr Zeija said that plans are underway to regazette all the Magisterial areas in the country such that court users will no longer have to travel or trek longer distances to seek justice.

He also said that they plan to amend the laws governing Magistrates Court such that their mandate or powers are expanded from hearing cases whose value is not more than 50 million Shillings, to cases with much value.

He has also cautioned judicial officers against being rude when handling litigants.

At the same event, different players in the justice system including Uganda Law Society, Uganda Police Force, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Uganda Prisons Services explained to the community about their different roles as institutions and what the public should expect from them.

Simon Peter Siima, the Assistant OC of Luzira Upper Prison said that they receive complaints from the public about prisoners who have been released before completion of their respective sentences.

Siima said that every person convicted and sentenced to serve a jail term in prison is entitled to remission which is a third of the punishment imposed by the courts. He explained that if the prisoner conducts himself in a good manner, they can have their sentences reduced.

Musa Mulangira Kanakulya and Expedito Kizito Salongo who are leaders in the area decried the low pay saying that they earn only 10,000 Shillings and that lawyers normally come and execute agreements with their area residents without involvement especially in land transactions.

However, Dr. Zeija said that issues of low payments should be addressed to the Resident District Commissioner since he has no solution.

He further said that matters to do with lawyers should be addressed by the Law Council which is charged with regulating the conduct of Advocates.



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