Monday January 20 2014

High court still needs 20 judges - Judiciary

By Ephraim Kasozi


Despite the appointment of six new judges, the High Court still needs another 20 to operate at optimum level, the Judiciary has said.

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine yesterday said that if approved, the six judges appointed by President Museveni last week, will bring the number of judges in service to 60.
Four of the six judges will be designated to the High Court and two to the autonomous Industrial Court.

Justice Bamwine said compared to the rate at which cases are filed, the number of judges at the High Court should be between 130 and 150 judges “if we are to give Ugandans value for money”.

Currently, the court has 56 judges. He said 82 judges, including the Principal Judge, were presumed adequate since 2009 to perform at optimum level but there was still case backlog. “Even if we are to give judges maximum facilitation, we cannot finish the (case backlog) in a life time,” the Principal Judge said in a telephone interview.

President Museveni wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, last Friday appointing six new judges to be vetted by the Appointments Committee. The committee convenes on Friday.

Justice Bamwine commended government for the appointments, saying: “The filling of the vacancies should have come earlier because we are few on ground. The appointment is a drop in the ocean but we are getting relieved.”

Meanwhile, the Industrial Court is slated to be reconstituted following the appointment of new judges. The Acting Chief Registrar, Mr Asaph Ntengye Ruhinda, was designated as Chief Judge while Ms Lillian Tumusiime from the directorate of ethics and integrity becomes a judge.