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ENTEBBE - President Yoweri Museveni has sworn in new Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo, in a Saturday afternoon function at State House, Entebbe. Different stakeholders who included justices, members of the Judicial Service Commissioners, representatives of security agencies, the Ministry of the Presidency Esther Mbayo and the Head of Public Service, Mr. John Mitala, were in attendance.


The President appreciated the outgoing DCJ, Steven B.K. Kavuma, who was also in attendance with hid wife, Ruth Kavuma, for his long service for both the country  and the Judiciary. He also congratulated Justice Owiny-Dollo on his new appointment.


Mr. Museveni called for discipline within the three arms of the state: Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. “Discipline is crucial. If implemented by all the arms of the State, the country will move forward, “ he said, adding that he instilled discipline in the armed forces, in spite of their low salaries.
“If the Judiciary is disciplined in fighting corruption, the citizens of country would be happy.”


The President said he is aware of some of the Judiciary challenges like personnel numbe and workload. He however, said some impact could be registered with the limited resources.“You do not have to be everywhere…..you can utilize the meagre resources to do more becase not all cases are the same. You may for instance prioritise murder, rape, defilement and commercial cases,” he said.


Earlier, the Chief Justice, Bart .M. Katureebe, thanked the President for “injecting fresh blood in the Judiciary Top Management”.  The CJ appealed to the President to give the Judiciary another push to ensure that the Administration of Judiciary Bill as well as supporting the issue of officers retiring with all their benefits.
He equally said he supports the idea of judicial officers having to retire with their benefits, adding that if funds are unavailable now, “a commencement date could be agreed”.


Different speakers including the Attorney General, Mr. William Byaruhanga, thanked the outgoing DCJ, Steven Kavuma for his dedicated service to his country. According to Justice Katureebe, he and Justice Kavuma were in the same university class together in 1971 and joined the Attorney General’s Chambers together in 1975.

 

Source: Judiciary / Published: October 2, 2017

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The Judiciary has developed a robust Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy. It is expected that within the next three years, an e-justice will have been operationalized.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe revealed this on Friday while inaugurating the Legal Aid innovations conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Katureebe said it was imperative that the Government facilitates the development of a legal aid policy and law, adopts a-state-funded legal aid scheme and strengthens community-led initiatives, such as local council courts and a paralegal advisory system that would fill the existing gaps in legal aid service provision.

He, however, regretted that the system was still struggling to eliminate case backlog, which he said was one of the greatest systemic barriers against access to justice.

“The sector is also still grappling with the fact that most Justice Law and Orders Sector (JLOS) institutions remain largely urban-based and unavailable in 18% of the district, while 41% of the institutions operate from premises not fit for the purpose.

The justice system is further faced with many other constraints in service delivery that include lack of modern ICT equipment and reliance on manual processes, low budgetary support to sector institutions, limited legal reference materials, poor remuneration and conditions of service for judicial officers and other staff within the institutions and limited knowledge of the law and human rights by the majority population, among others,” Katureebe further lamented.

He said a report by The Hague Institute for Innovation and the Law (HIIL) on Justice Needs 2016 also revealed that 88% of Ugandans experienced difficulty in accessing justice in the past four years, with land and family cases being rated as the top two most critical disputes.

Katureebe noted that only 18% of the Ugandan population receives legal aid services annually, which leaves the majority, especially the poor and most vulnerable, unable to access justice.      

Katureebe said that such a situation leads to frustration sometimes, culminating into criminality manifesting in acts such as suicide and use of extra judicial means like mob justice, which creates insecurity to the population.

 

He noted that there is an acute shortage of legal practitioners in rural areas and that the legal aid service providers currently available provide project-led interventions, which are not sustainable. 

“Our focus should be on what work for the ordinary persons who form the majority of our population. Once we develop a simple, user-friendly and cost effective justice system, the majority will be satisfied and the rates of satisfaction will hit through the roof, which will have unprecedented impact on the public confidence in the administration of justice in this country,” Katureebe stressed.

 

 

Source: New Vision / Published: September 11, 2017

 

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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 11:08

Judiciary Suspends Industrial Action

 

The Judicial officers, who have been on strike since August 25, 2017 have resolved to return to work tomorrow (September 7, 2017).

But the judicial officers under their umbrella the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) have set a deadline of December 11, 2017 for government to meet all their demands, lest they resume industrial action.

Judicial officers who include Judges at all levels of the High Court to the Supreme Court, Registrars and Magistrates reached a consensus on September 5, 2017 to call of the strike after the Government promised to fulfill their demands by October, 2017.

In a unanimous resolution, the Judicial Officers who congregated under UJOA decided to resume work as they continue engaging the Government in their discussion on their salaries and welfare.

 

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On August 25th, 2017 members of the Uganda Judicial Officers Association commenced industrial action. This was triggered by the failure of the Executive branch of the State to heed to the demands of the association issued in July 2017 for improvement of their welfare and working conditions. The industrial action has paralyzed work in the courts throughout the country. Needless to mention, several suspects remain in police cells and prison unable to have their day in court. Several commercial and civic disputes remain unresolved.

It is most unfortunate that matters have been permitted to escalate to a level where a whole arm of Government is constrained to resort to industrial action for the Executive to attend to its genuine demands and concerns. This should not have been the case if the Executive had attended to these legitimate demands of the Judiciary in time. We believe that a firm time-bound commitment given in good faith to attend to these demands in a phased manner in the short-term would have averted this industrial action.

It must be recalled that the Government has been unacceptably slow in attending to the past promises made to improve the conditions of service for Judicial officers by the President. It is also a fact that the Government has never acted on the previous recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission on this important matter. Equally disturbing is the fact that currently Government funds less that 40% of the Judiciary’s budget and yet there is increasing demand for justice services by many citizens.

The Judiciary is not an ordinary Government institution. It is one of the three arms of Government and is the only one charged with the exercise of judicial power in Uganda. Like the other arms of government –the Executive and Legislature – that are well facilitated, the Judiciary is an equal and important arm of government deserving of all necessary support to execute its constitutional mandate. Ignoring their legitimate demands only serves to undermine the structure of our democracy

The Uganda Law Society urges the Executive branch of government to demonstrate credible and tangible commitment to resolving this matter with the urgency it deserves. The Constitution commands all organs and agencies of the State to accord support to the Judiciary to ensure effective administration of justice. The Executive has to provide the written assurances necessary committing to the improvement of the terms and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the short term, as an initial sign of goodwill to enable them go back to work. The budget of the Judiciary should be enhanced so that the Judiciary can discharge its constitutional mandate and administer justice effectively.

Relatedly, we also implore the Executive to ensure that the Administration of Justice Bill is tabled in Parliament and urgently passed, as it is a springboard to solving many of the problems bedeviling the Judiciary. We also appeal to the members of UJOA to have some flexibility in their negotiations with the Executive so that the innocent public does not unnecessarily suffer for a prolonged period.

Lastly, we request members of the Bar to advise their clients regarding these developments. The Uganda Law Society will continue to engage all stakeholders to ensure that this issue is addressed without further damage to the rule of law.

 

FRANCIS GIMARA

PRESIDENT, ULS

 

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ISSUED: SEPT. 4 2017 // UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE

Introduction

As you are aware, Judicial Officers went into industrial action seeking for salary enhancement and improvement of their working conditions.

Many other groups have also been agitating for salary enhancements.

Government Interventions

Since the Judicial Officers laid down their tools, high-level consultations have been carried out between the Executive, the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission to address concerns of the Judicial Officers and other groups.

Relatedly, Cabinet directed the Ministry of public service to develop a comprehensive pay policy to harmonize pay across Government. This exercise is expected to be concluded by October 2017.

This will address the issue of pay disparities in Government and salary enhancement based on four principles of equity, adequacy, affordability and sustainability.

In the short-term, Government has committed to address the Judicial Officers’ working conditions by providing:

  1. a) Transport;
  2. b) Security; and
  3. c) Office equipment.

In the medium term, Government will focus on provision of housing for Judicial Officers and review their emoluments in tandem with other public servants.

The Government is also fast tracking the enactment of the Administration of the Judiciary Bill, 2016 to enhance the administration of the Judiciary as another arm of Government.

Government Appeal

The Government appeals to all Judicial Officers to return to work as Government addresses their concerns and for other public officers.

The Government further appeals to other public officers who are demanding for salary enhancement to be patient as the Government fast tracks the harmonization of pay across Government.

 

KAHINDA OTAFIIRE

MAJ GEN Rtd 

MINISTER

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Monday, 04 September 2017 09:41

Appeals Court to mediate 61 appeals in a day

 

The Court of Appeal is set to handle at least 61 cases in a day through Appellate Mediation, the newest alternative dispute mechanism (ADR) in Uganda. Two justices of the Court – outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Steven B.K. Kavuma and Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, who heads the Appellate Court Mediation, – will on September 11 handle 31 cases and 30 cases, each, respectively.

This will be the Court's maiden attempt at Appellate Mediation, a mechanism popularly used by the courts in the developed world to give quick justice to the people.

 

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SOURCE: Judiciary | Published: September 4, 2017

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Thursday, 24 August 2017 08:49

Owinyi-Dollo appointed Deputy Chief Justice

 

President Yoweri Museveni has named Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo of the Court of Appeal as the new Deputy Chief Justice, replacing Justice Steven Kavuma.

The President also named Justice Richard Buteera and Justice Paul Magamba, also of the Court of Appeal, for evaluation to the Supreme Court, according to reliable sources in the Judiciary.

Sources said the names of Owiny-Dollo, Buteera and Mugamba were forwarded to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, for vetting, before appointment.

Justice Kavuma is due to retire in Semptember when he turns 70, the retirement age for justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Service Commission has been interviewing the prospective candidates, over the past few months, to find suitable candidates for appointment as Deputy Chief Justice and justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The Commission, headed by Justice Benjamin Kabiito, is mandated to advise the President on appointment of judicial officers.

According to media reports, several judges had been shortlisted for the post of Deputy Chief Justice. They reportedly included Lady Justices Solomy Balungi Bossa, Hellen Abulu Obura, Esther Mayambala Kisaakye, and Stella Arach Amoko. Others were Justice Lilian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja, Justice Egonda-Ntende, who was a Chief Justice of the Republic of Seychelles, from 2009 and Justice Owiny-Dollo.

Justice Owiny-Dollo distinguished himself as a tough judge, when he presided over the trial of the terror suspects, convicting seven of them in May last year. At the time, Owiny-Dollo was serving on the International Crimes Division of High Court, before being elevated to the Court of Appeal. He also served as minister before joining the Judiciary.

Buteera served as the Director of Public Prosecutions before he was appointed to the Court of Appeal.

 

Justice Paul Mugamba was the head of the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala.

 

SOURCE: The New Vision | Published: August 24, 2017

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KAMPALA - The Judiciary has named Supreme Court judge , the new Chief Inspector of Courts on a three-year term contract.

Justice Opio-Aweri replaces former Justice Augustine Sebutino Nshimye, who retired in March after clocking the mandatory age of 70.

Justice Nshimye had been the first inspector of courts though his reign lasted for only one year before retiring.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe in an instrument of appointment dated August 3, 2017 said Justice Aweri would be responsible for carrying out the functions of the Inspectorate of Courts in line with the Constitution (Inspectorate of Courts) (Practice Directive) 2015.

According to press statement issued out last evening by Solomon Muyita, the senior communications officer of the Judiciary, Justice Aweri will receive, investigate and evaluate complainants from the public against judicial officials.

 

Purpose

The Chief Inspector of Courts position was created by the Chief Justice in his efforts to strengthen the Inspectorate wing of the Judiciary by empowering it to inspect, receive complainants and investigate cases of judicial officers and judiciary staff of all cadres.

Previously, the Inspector of Courts was being run and headed by a high court registrar, a position which made it difficult for the officer bearer to inspect and take decisive action against errant senior judicial officers in appellate courts like Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

The Chief Inspector of Courts will, among other strategic reforms, lend support towards the Judiciary’s anti-corruption initiatives through the implementation of the Judiciary Anti-Corruption Plan of Action and strengthen accountability.

 

ABOUT JUSTICE AWERI

Background. Born in 1953, Justice Opio-Aweri’s career began in Soroti District where he was a legal assistant in 1982. He joined the Judiciary a year later as Magistrate Grade One. He rose through ranks to become judge of the High Court in 1998.

He was elevated to Court of Appeal in 2013 and to the Supreme Court in September 2015. He is married and has a Master of Laws from Makerere University. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Law Development Centre and Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University.

 

SOURCE: Daily Monitor / Anthony Wesaka | Published: August 21, 2017

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JO'BURG - Leaders who offer themselves for elective politics must have the humility to respect the voters that put them into power, the Chief Justice said at an international Leadership Forum.

Justice Bart Katureebe, on Thursday called for the “respect for the rights of the citizens and indeed for rule of law should not be done to please Western powers but because the citizens deserve it”.

The Chief Justice is attending the African Leadership Forum at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, organized under the auspices of former South African president’s Thabo Mbeki Foundation and former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa’s Uogonzi Institute.

Other distinguished leaders  present are: former Presidents: Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), Jakaya Kikwete(Tanzania), Mahamed Marzoki (Tunisia), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Ali Mahdi Muhammad (Somalia), Mohamed Moncef Marzouki (Tunisia) and other government officials and Academicians from around Africa.

In his panel discussion on the topic: Good Governance and the Rule of Law, which he did together with ex-Presidents: Jakaya Kikwete and Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Hon. Justice Bart Katureebe noted that investment and empowering institutions that guarantee good governance and the rule of law is a prerequisite to development.

He challenged the authorities responsible for planning for and allocation of resources to give priority to institutions that guarantee good governance and the rule of law otherwise all investment will be in vain.

 

He decried poor facilitation of the Judiciary and other Law and Order institutions in many countries, including Uganda.

 

SOURCE: The Judiciary | Published: August 25, 2017

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Thursday, 31 August 2017 08:29

Chief Registrar Enrolls 80 Advocates

 

KAMPALA: Despite the country-wide industrial action by judicial officers over welfare issues, the Chief Registrar, Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa, on Friday(August 25) enrolled over 80 new advocates at the High Court in Kampala.

This is one of the biggest groups of new advocates ever to be enrolled at the same time in Judiciary’s history.

Mr. Gadenya congratulated the newly enrolled advocates for having successfully completed their undergraduate and postgraduate career in law, “which if practiced well can be very rewarding.”

“You must observe the highest degree of integrity, professionalism and imparliality as officers of court. Clients will only trust you with their cases only if you are men and women of integrity,” said Mr. Gadenya.

He further cautioned the newly enrolled advocates that their first duty is to the court, to ensure that justice is not only done but seen done. “Sometimes, counsel’s duty to court may be in conflict with his duty to the clients. In such circumstances, counsel’s duty to court takes precedence” he said.

The Chief Registrar called for the bridging of the gap between the law and the public, urging the advocates to continually teach and sensitise the public and students about the law as well as offering pro-bono services to indigent litigants.

The new attorneys were further urged to prepare cases well to assist the courts to expeditiously resolve cases and eliminate case backlog. “Value working a lasting legacy in law by promoting the highest standards of legal practice founded in honesty, intergrity professionalism,” said Mr. Gadenya. The Chief Registrar said the Judiciary is doing everything possible to ensure that the courts remain open as negotiations for improved terms and conditions of judicial officers go on.

 

SOURCE: The Judiciary | Published: September 1, 2017

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