KAMPALA – The Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny Dollo has admitted that access to justice is still a challenge to many Ugandans due to wide spread corruption in the judicial system.
Also, he said, this is influenced by factors such as workforce gaps, inadequate funding which impedes output, case backlog, inadequate transport to facilitate locus visits and staff mobility.
Other challenges that he noted were unreliable power and internet facilities, inadequate court structures and the COVID-19 threat, which has negatively impacted justice delivery across all courts.
The Chief Justice was presiding over the third Leadership Dialogue, organized by The Hague Institute for Innovations of Law (HiiL) and JLOS, at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
The goal of the half-day dialogue was to explore ways of how to strengthen people-centred Justice in Uganda.
He said that the major objective of the Dialogue was to come to a shared goal inspired by four transformational ideas; developing a justice data hub that continuously collects data about the needs and experiences of justice users, strengthening local courts, integrating IT systems to support LC courts and supporting traditional ways of resolving disputes.
The Chief Justice commended HiiL and JLOS in fostering innovations aimed at enhancing access to justice to the people of Uganda.
Making his remarks via Zoom technology, the HiiL Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sam Muller, said that his organization was pioneering a new way of creating a people-centred justice system through partnerships.
“A justice system that is built around the needs and experiences of people, not of institutions, is our goal,” he stated.
Mr Muller, further explained that a people-centred justice system resolves justice problems, prevents injustices from occurring, and uses formal and informal justice systems to create opportunities for people to participate fully in their economies and societies.
This, he noted, helps societies to prosper and help people in securing their future.
Mr Muller observed that Uganda had developed a unique ecosystem of justice innovators who designed solutions that benefit the ordinary consumers of services over the past four years.
He further stated that with funding from SIDA, HiiL started running innovation labs to develop innovative solutions that could scale and run based on sustainable funding models.
The JLOS Senior Technical Advisor, Ms Rachel Odoi-Musoke, echoed the statements of Mr Muller, adding that for the last two years, they have been in collaboration with HiiL to implement people-centred justice approaches.
“The purpose of this program was to ensure that the citizens of Uganda and in particular the disadvantaged, see more of their legal issues resolved fairly and effectively by a justice system that is more innovative, open, transparent and accountable,” she said.
The Dialogue was attended by leaders from different JLOS Institutions who included the Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija, Supreme Court Justice, Mike Chibita, Permanent Secretary/Secretary to Judiciary, Mr Pius Bigirimama and the Chief Registrar, Ms Sarah Langa Siu.