Chief Justice engages two Parliamentary Committees over need for Judiciary's enhanced budget

Barely a week after he engaged the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, the Chief Justice on Wednesday met two Committees of Parliament over the need for Judiciary’s enhanced budget.

This time around, Parliament’s Budget Committee and the Legal Committee pitched camp at the Judiciary headquarters in Kampala to appreciate Judiciary’s plan for the next Financial Year and the resources required for the Judiciary to operate equitably.

“For the longest time, the Judiciary has been treated as though it is a department under the Ministry of Justice, yet it is a whole arm of the state,” the Chief Justice, Alfonse C. Owiny – Dollo. “For almost five years, the Judiciary has been allocated the same budget, which is actually way below that of some ministries.”

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He said the Judiciary deserves an enhanced budget similar to that of Parliament to hire more Judicial officers and staff so that Ugandans can access justice from Courts in every constituency and district.

“We need to recruit more judicial officers and staff into the Judiciary and properly equip them to dispense justice to Ugandans. You need to know that it is not our desire to have many unresolved cases in our Courts for five to 10 years. Give us the resources to do a decent job,” added Justice Dollo.

The Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana, said the funding proposal that is now before Parliament for approval is seeking to improve funding to the Judiciary from 0.5 per cent of the national budget 1.9 per cent.

Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth, the chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, said his committee fully supports Judiciary’s new push for better funding. “What we need to check out is why the Ministry of Finance insists that it lacks resources to fund Judiciary’s budget proposal,” he said.

His counterpart from the Budget Committee, Mr Amos Lugoloobi, said his Committee was willing to do all it takes to ensure that the Judiciary secures adequate funding to implement the new Administration of the Judiciary Act.

The Legislators concurred to set up a meeting within the course of next week with key players within the government so that a position is taken at a high level on the resourcing of the Judiciary.

The Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, noted that adequate resourcing of the Judiciary is long overdue. “It is the ordinary Ugandans out there who suffer whenever the Judiciary is not given the tools to do its work,” he said.

The Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija; Chief Registrar, Sarah Langa Siu, several registrars and senior administrators attended the high-level engagement.