Speaker Rebecca Kadaga

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has urged government to embrace technology in the operations of courts of law, saying the Covid-19 era warrants this shift.

Kadaga said that since the fate of Covid is unknown, government ought to consider putting up infrastructure to enable people attend court hearings online. “I hope that at a certain stage, the Chief Justice will take notice of this mode of operation since we are not sure when Covid-19 will end,” Kadaga said.

The Speaker added that Covid-19 has been challenging to the judicial sector, with courts having to close a year.

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“The courts are not operational; it is only a few that have been operating on zoom and only bail applications that have been handled. For the last year, litigants have not been able to go to court to have their matters resolved,” she said.

Kadaga made these remarks at the National Conference on Women Rights at the Imperial Royale Hotel Tuesday, 23 March 2021 organized by Barefoot Law. Barefoot law is a private organization that uses innovations and technology to foster access to justice among disadvantaged women.

Speaker Kadaga expressed disappointment about the way the judicial system disadvantages women.

“Many court hearings begin at 9.00am but when you consider a woman who has children; she has first to wash, clean and feed them then organize herself and come to court. Will she arrive there before 9.00am?” Kadaga wondered.

The Executive Director of Barefoot, Gerald Abila asked Parliament to push for access to technology by people in rural areas who he said have limited access to both judicial aid and technology.

“Parliament should push for a reduction in costs on data and make gadgets available for rural people because with Covid-19, access to new technology should be treated as a human right,” Abila said.