By Ronald Kabuye
as the state prosecutors continue with their sit down strike despite government promise to enhance their salaries, the high court judges and magistrates have taken their annual one month vacation effective today.
government appealed to the prosecutor to get back to work after promising to increase their salaries within a three months period putting the salary of the DPP to 26.5 millons from 10 million and the state attorney at 3,5m from 550,000 shillings but they declined until they convene their general assembly to decide on the way forward.
according to the statement on the judiciary website, the one-month annual court vacation will start on July 15, 2017. The vacation will only affect the High Court and Magistrates’ courts. The Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court will begin its vacation on July 31, 2017 and end on August 31, 2017. During the court vacation, the affected courts will only attend to cases of the criminal nature but not civil. According to His Worship Tom Chemutai, the acting Chief Registrar and Registrar Supreme Court, the purpose of the Court Vacation is to enable judicial officers to write judgments pending before them. “During this time, courts are not expected to hear civil cases normal court business continues such as receiving of filings,”he says. However, he adds that when urgent cases come up, applicants apply fora “certificate of urgency” stating why the matter needs to be disposed of. “When the Certificate of Urgency is granted,the case can be handled as an exception,” H/W Chemutai shares. Court Vacations are provided for under Rule 4 of the Judicature Court Vacation Rules which states that”court shall not sit to discharge business other than such civil business that shall,in the opinion of the presiding judge, be of an urgent nature”. In Uganda, there are two court vacations annually. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have their vacation from July 31-August 31 and December 23 to January 7 while High court and Magistrates’ court vacations run from July 15-August 15 and December 23 to January 7 of every year.