“Currently, the Industrial Court is faced with the burden of lawyers who are not knowledgeable about representing clients in industrial court matters.
PIC: Chief Judge, Ruhinda Asaph Ntengye (third left), Lady Justice Linda Lillian Tumusiime Mugisha (fourth left) and the Director Labour Martin Wandera with the Industrial Court Panalists during the induction training in Kampala. (Credit: Wilfred Sanya)
KAMPALA - The Industrial Court will institute stringent guidelines for lawyers that represent clients involved in labour disputes, court registrar, Sylvia Nabaggala said.
Nabaggala revealed this during the induction training of 12 panelists, appointed by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, to assist court in labour disputes.
"Currently, the Industrial Court is faced with the burden of lawyers who are not knowledgeable about representing clients in industrial court matters.
"This makes our work very hard because they lack the technical skills to handle cases expeditiously to attain justice for all," Nabaggala said.
The training was held at Hill Plaza Hotel in Kampala over the weekend.
Nabaggala attributed the challenge to lack of guidelines and limitation in adjudication of such matters that need to be disposed off in a limited time.
"When the court was revived in 2014, this issue of representation came out distinctly and it was forwarded to the Law Reform Commission to draft a law to be forwarded to parliament. However, it has not been concluded," she noted.
Nabaggala revealed that the court inherited 500 labour disputes at its revival in 2014 and; by 2017 the cases had risen to 2135 of which, only 515 have been resolved by the court.
"In order to reduce case backlog, we propose an amendment to split the court into two and allow the Judges to have two separate settings as compared to both Judges attending one session."
She told the new panelists that the Industrial Court was created to see to it that justice is expeditiously administered to the aggrieved parties.
"Our role is to ensure compliance with the International Labour Organisation Conventions which aims at improving labour standards of our people," Nabaggala said.
The Industrial Court was established under the Labour Disputes (Arbitration and Settlement) Act, 2006 Cap 224 to have labour justice faster than the ordinary courts.
The court is chaired by two judges; Chief Judge Ruhinda Asaph Ntengye and Lady Justice Linda Lillian Tumusiime Mugisha.
The director Labour, Martin Wandera who represented the permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana, noted that in order to have effective administration of justice, panelists will have to acquire skills in law on evidence and decision making.
Wandera asked the top leadership to induct new panelists before embarking on their assignments.
He applauded the justices for the revival of the industrial court which is designed specifically to have arbitration of the workers.
Wandera said that Industrial court is designed to have a short time to have an arbitration reached, compared to the ordinary courts where a lot of monetary is involved with a lot of paper work.