The Commercial Court Division of Uganda
The Commercial Court was established in 1996. It is a division of the High Court of Uganda.
The Commercial Court is located at Plot 14, Lumumba Avenue, Nakasero in Kampala. The Jurisdiction of the Court is provided under Paragraph 4 of the Constitution Commercial Court (Practice) Directions, 1996 which reads:
“The business of the Commercial Court Shall comprise all actions arising out of or connected with any relationship of a Commercial or business nature, whether contractual or not, and to include, but not be limited to –
- The supply or exchange of goods and services
- Banking, negotiable instruments, international credit and similar financial services
- Insurance, reinsurance
- The operation of stock and foreign exchange markets
- The carriage of goods(by water, land and air)
- Foreign judgments and commercial arbitration questions.”
The Commercial Court Judges deal with all case management and interlocutory applications. Before arbitral awards can be enforced, they have to be registered with the Commercial Court to deal with consequential orders. It has original and Appellate Jurisdiction. Its monetary Jurisdiction is unlimited. Appeals lie to the Court of Appeal.
The mission of the court is to deliver to the commercial community an efficient, expeditious and cost-effective mode of adjudicating disputes that affect directly and significantly the economic, commercial and financial life of Uganda.
The day to day management of the Court is in the hands of the Head of the Court, assisted in this regard by the Deputy Head and the Registrars.
The Mediation Registry which falls under the Commercial Division has championed E-service of Court summons and notices. Mediation is an ADR mechanism for fighting backlog.
The Court uses minimal but useful Court Case Management System although the equipment is old, needs upgrading and re-engineering.
The Commercial Court comprises of 5 sitting Judges, chosen from High Court Judges deployed by The Hon. Principal Judge to whom they are accountable.
Commercial Court Judges are occasionally assigned to hold Court sessions both Civil and Criminal in other High Court Divisions and Circuits and to handle election petitions.
The Court receives many visits from the Judiciaries of other Countries, and welcomes requests for dialogue and the opportunity to assist and to learn.
Since its opening in 1996, the Commercial Court has transformed the time taken to process commercial cases from an average of five years – to eighteen months currently, a seven-fold increase in the number of cases being heard.
The Commercial Court has a Court users’ committee comprising of The Uganda Manufacturers Association, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda Bankers Association, Uganda Insurers’ Association, Central Bank, Uganda Revenue Authority, National Chambers of Commerce, Uganda Law Reform Commission, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Faculty of Law Makerere, Faculty of Law UCU Mukono, Uganda Law Society and Uganda Investment Authority.