Minor claim, mobile courts to ease justice dispensing

DETERMINED to guarantee access to justice and take the services closer to the people, the judiciary plans minor claim and mobile courts in the country, the acting Chief Justice (CJ), Professor Ibrahim Juma, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Closing the law week exhibitions at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in the city, Professor Juma explained that the strategy is crucial in enabling more people to get justice on time and easing dispensation of justice to citizens in rural and other remote areas. “Statistics show that there are 3,957 wards in the country, with each requiring at least one primary court.

But, there are only 976 courts, implying that we can hardly reach all people in need of justice,” said Professor Juma, describing the establishment of the minor claim and mobile courts as inevitable.

He said neighbouring countries like Kenya and Uganda have already started adopting the system, assuring that the mobile courts will take off by next year to address one of the critical challenges that the judiciary has learnt during the weeklong exhibitions.

The CJ described the exhibitions as successful, with hundreds of citizens getting the opportunity to ask questions on various judicial issues, including the opening of cases, procedures relating to inheritance cases, bail applications, appeal procedures, matrimonial disputes and provision of legal aids.

He cited complaints by many people, especially on abusive language by court clerks, corruption practices among court officials and adjournment of cases beyond the required time, promising to work on the complaints effectively and timely.

Earlier, the Principal Judge Ferdinand Wambari told the gathering that over 3,000 ‘wananchi’ attended the exhibitions, with their major complaints centred on delays in provision of judgment copies to litigants, promising that the problem would be addressed soon.

“We understand the challenges of inadequate working tools but to start with, we have decided to provide 58 laptop computers which would be distributed to magistrates from the primary courts to the resident magistrate’s courts,” he said.

The working tools, he said, will reduce the burden on magistrates who had to handwrite case proceedings and use them to compose judgments by themselves instead of giving the work to typewriters.

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