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Sunday,September 27,2020 20:10 PM

Industrial Court judge doubts its powers

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th June 2015 03:18 PM

The Industrial Court Chief Judge, Justice Asaph Ntengye Ruhinda, has called for an amendment of the law establishing it.

Industrial Court judge doubts its powers

The Industrial Court Chief Judge, Justice Asaph Ntengye Ruhinda, has called for an amendment of the law establishing it.

By Hillary Nsambu   

The Industrial Court Chief Judge, Justice Asaph Ntengye Ruhinda, has called for an amendment of the law establishing it.


Justice Ruhinda also said that rules concerning the Industrial Court were not exhaustive to the extent that it is not even clear whether the court has the powers of the High Court or; it is a mere tribunal to arbitrate workers disputes.

The judge also said that many other things including inadequate funding of the court interfere with its proper operations.

“Insufficient funding of the court where panellists are paid allowances despite the fact that they are not budgeted for; lack of staff structure and office space are some of the many shortcomings that substantially affect the output of the court,” the judge said at Ntinda over the weekend.

In an exclusive interview said the court’s operations since its revival, the judge said that presently the law requires that a unanimous decision must be reached by the court of the two judges and the three panellists, who are not lawyers, must be reached over a matter.

Judges Ruhinda and Lynda Mugisha Tumusiime appointed early last year are the only two judges supposed to preside over the court. Sylvia Nabaggala is the court’s registrar.

For the Industrial Court to be fully constituted to hear a case, it must be composed of the two judges and three of the lay panellists.    

Judge Ntengye elaborated that in case of an appeal, a question might arise whether the decision of the three panellists, who are not legal professionals, is actually binding on the wrangling parties. There is no provision for appeals or immediate reliefs.

The procedure of executing the court awards is also not clear, as the court is not bound by the civil procedure rules as it is in civil matters in the High court.  

At that juncture, the judge proposed that under the reform, the panellists should become part of the court only in union matters, but not in matters in which laws are involved.

“The judges should be left with the discretion to involve the panellist only in other matters before the court other than in matters involving legal arguments,” Ntengye clarified.

Ntengye further said that another impediment that curtails the court’s proper function was that currently, the law does not provide for immediate reliefs like it is in interim and temporary injunctions in civil matters, which are meant to maintain the status quo before full trial is held.

“This is the same law that is not clear in executing court orders. It lacks provisions to reinstate an employee other than ordering compensation in case of wrongful dismissals,” Ntengye said.  
 
The judge said that over 300 cases they started with were referred to the court from the Labour Office and from the High Court.

“Our plan is that if the amendments are made, the court can establish circuits, the equivalent of those of the High Court.

Meanwhile, court’s registrar Nabaggala said that the court that started functioning in November 2014 entered its fourth quarter of operation at the beginning of this month (June 1) with 20 cases on its card.

She said that they had disposed of at least75% of the cases that they started with.                                           
 
 
 
 

 

Industrial Court judge doubts its powers

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