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Forty-four percent of Ugandans say they have paid a bribe before to get assistance from courts. This finding puts Ugandan courts in fifth place in countries where corrupt in courts is soaring.

This is according to 2017 Afrobarometer survey.

The study looked at 36 African countries.

Respondents who reported contact with the courts were asked: And how often, if ever, did you have to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favour for a judge or court official in order to get the assistance you needed from the courts? 44 percent of respondents in Uganda said yes.

The top five African countries where corruption in courts is increasing are: Sierra Leone 65 percent, Egypt 54 percent, Liberia 52 percent, Morocco 49 percent and Uganda at 44 percent.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across 36 countries in Africa.

Average experience of problems in courts

Read: Why would Geoffrey Kirumira be interested in murdering Kasiwukira?

Respondents were asked: Have you encountered any of these problems in your experience with government courts in the past five years: You were unable to pay necessary costs and fees? You could not understand the legal processes and procedures? You could not obtain legal counsel or advice? The judge or magistrate did not listen to your side of the story? There were long delays in handling or resolving the case?. 55 percent of respondents in Uganda said yes.

Uganda ranks 5th under this category after Liberia (1), Morocco (2), Egypt (3) and Kenya (4)

Why people avoid the courts

In your opinion, what would be the most important reason that people like yourself would not take a case to court? Responses: 18 percent said court costs are too high.

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Lawyers are too expensive 17 percent, don’t expect fair treatment 14 percent, and don’t trust the courts 13 percent while 12 percent say they expect the case to take too long.

According to business-anti-corruption portal, the high risk of corruption in Uganda’s judicial sector, in part due to political interference.

Corruption in the judiciary is mainly prevalent in the lower courts; the administration of justice is hampered by inadequate funding and staffing.

Ugandan courts generally uphold the sanctity of contracts, though judicial corruption and procedural delays caused by well-connected defendants pose a serious challenge; government agencies are at times reluctant to honour judicial remedies issued by the courts.

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