Gov’t to introduce policy on alternative dispute resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution -ADR is a mechanism of settling conflicts amicably without necessarily going to courts of law.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Government of Uganda is in the advanced stages of introducing a policy to regulate alternative dispute resolution.

Alternative Dispute Resolution -ADR is a mechanism of settling conflicts amicably without necessarily going to courts of law.

While addressing journalists on Sunday in Kampala, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Nobert Mao said that they are planning to regulate how the disputes should be handled and that the government has already drafted a policy to this effect.

Mao noted that very soon they will be tabling it before Cabinet for discussion and approval.

He also urged citizens to embrace alternative ways of settling disputes such as reconciliation, mediation small claims procedure, and plea bargaining in criminal matters saying that at the moment, the judiciary is suffering from case backlog.

The former presidential candidate is hopeful that when such mechanisms are employed and adopted, many matters will be resolved before they can even be filed in the courts of law.

He was addressing the media ahead of the first-ever high-level National Summit on Alternative Dispute Resolution which is expected to kick off today June 26th, 2023 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.

The summit will attract several participants including Lawyers, officials from Pepperdine University, Civil Society Organizations, Banks, technocrats from different agencies, and private sector members among others will attend. The head of State President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected as the Chief Guest.

During the summit, Mao also said that there will be training of the participants on the application of alternative dispute resolution.

Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera said when they are presiding over cases in courts of law, lawyers, and litigants are involved. This he said, however, there are always many cases some of which are very complicated and as such cause delays in their management.

But Buteera is optimistic that if people embrace alternative dispute resolution, cases will be resolved quickly and timely.

Supreme Court Justice Mike Chibita said that it costs about three million Shillings on average to dispose off one case but when for instance an accused person accepts a plea bargain, one can averagely spend only 100,000 Shillings.

The officials have further indicated that this is the right time for the citizens also to participate in the administration of justice as required by the constitution because the judiciary doesn’t work alone.

In 2022, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo indicated that through the use of small claims courts, mediation, and alternative Dispute Resolution, the Judiciary was able to clear almost half of the case backlog in the justice system which was standing at more than 300,000 cases.

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