By Anne Mugisa UGANDA'S ranking in the investor protection benchmarks is still poor. The deputy executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority, Tom Buringuriza, said Uganda came 117 out of the 173 countries sampled. Speaking at the Commercial Court judges conference in Kampala on Friday, Buringuriza said the ranking of 180 countries considered the countrys laws and regulations. He added that it also considered the time and motion indicators that measure the efficiency in achieving regulatory goals such as granting legal identity of a business. Buringuriza explained that perceptions of the negative aspects include the few judicial officials to handle disputes, causing case backlog and delays in justice delivery and bureaucratic procedures. Others, he said, are that court users perceive lawyers as a barrier to accessing justice because of their high fees and the fact that they are not available countrywide. Buringuriza said investors looked at how long it took to offer services to them in a given country which they compared to other countries before choosing where to take their money. He added that they looked at issues like infrastructure, the mechanisms to ensure their rights, the cost of investing and resolving disputes. The conference was attended by the Chief Justices of Uganda, Zanzibar, Egypt and magistrates from Uganda and other African countries. Ugandan Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki said there was need to make the commercial justice system broader to include issues like mediation. He also asked lawyers to consider mediation before opting for litigation.