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475 to be trained as mediators to expedite dispute resolution

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th March 2015 11:25 AM

A total of 475 officials from the institutions under the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) are to undergo training in mediation mechanism of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

475 to be trained as mediators to expedite dispute resolution

A total of 475 officials from the institutions under the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) are to undergo training in mediation mechanism of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

By Alfred Wandera & Betty Amamukirori

A total of 475 officials from the institutions under the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) are to undergo training in mediation mechanism of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).


ADR is a mediation process that allows parties to a dispute find a quick solution with the assistance of a neutral third party, without going through the costly and lengthy court process.

The measure is being undertaken to ease pressure on the overwhelmed courts that are already fraught with case backlog.

The courts shall now refer every civil action for mediation before proceeding for trial, according to Rule 4 of the Judicature (Mediation) Rules, 2013, that establishes the use of mediation in dispute resolution.

JLOS is a sector wide approach adopted by the Government to bring together institutions with closely linked mandates of administering justice and maintaining law and order and human rights.

The training is meant to enhance the rollout of mediation in dispute resolution following its launch on Wednesday by the Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine, at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.

Principal Judge Justice Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine chatting with Head of Office at Austrian Development Cooperation Simone Knapp during launch of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms at Imperial Royale Hote. Photo/Mary Kansiime

“Judiciary, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Law Council and other JLOS institutions involved in dispensing justice all have case backlog. This new measure should assist you to sit down and see the way forward. It will help the poor and the vulnerable especially the women access justice. There has been a belief in Uganda that the poor cannot access justice. Now that is a thing of the past with mediation in place,” said Bamwine.

“There are people who sound cynical about the reforms we are making and have threatened to take us to court; our own courts. Some lawyers feel deprived of the status quo and say rolling out ADR is unconstitutional. Let them go to court,” added Bamwine.

Already 40 officials have undergone the training that is being funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). Head of office for ADC, Simone Knapp, said they have injected €340, 000 (about sh1b) in the project that kicked off last November. The 40 officials that were trained last year were awarded certificates on Wednesday during the launch of the rollout of the of the ADR mechanism.

Originally piloted in the Commercial Court, ADR is now being rolled out to the other High Court Divisions of Civil, Family, Land and Magistrates Courts.

The ADR services will also be available in the other JLOS dispute resolution bodies like the Industrial Court, Judicial Service Commission, Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Law Council, the Directorate of Civil Litigation, Uganda Law Society and the Office of the Administrator General.

The project will also focus on strengthening of court registries for mediation in the Judiciary and conducting sensitization and community outreach programmes across the country.

The plan further includes the establishment of a fully-fledged High Court Division for mediation in the Judiciary and harmonizing structures across JLOS institutions. 

“Investors and local business men would like to do business in a country where disputes would be easily resolved. Much of the money used by these businesses is borrowed from banks at high interest rates. Such money tied up in disputes that stretch over a long time only leads to multiplication of bank interest, and therefore cost of operation, which directly impacts on the profits which the businessman makes, at times leading to collapse of business ventures,” said Justice David Wangutusi, the chairperson, ADR project advisory board.

 

475 to be trained as mediators to expedite dispute resolution

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