September 28, 2023

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Access to Justice

Access to Justice (12)

Due to the breadth of the reform programme, working groups are extensions of the Technical Committee that offer in-depth consideration that would otherwise not be possible in the Technical Committee. Working Groups do not have decision-making powers. They report to the Technical Committee for decisions related to resource allocation and management.

The Technical Committee largely operates through the following Working Groups:

  1. Access to Justice Civil is subdivided into two sub-committees (Civil main and Land Justice
  2. Access to Justice Criminal - with one sub-committee (Children and Family justice)
  3. Human Rights and Accountability.
  4. Transitional Justice.
  5. Budget Working group
  6. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group.

All chairpersons of working groups are selected by the Technical Committee from its membership, while alternate chairpersons of each Working Group are determined annually by members of each WG.

The Advisors in the Secretariat support the working groups in accordance with their respective portfolios.



At the Regional Level, SDP V maintains the Regional Chain-Linked Committees (RCC). Regions under JLOS SDP V will be equivalent to the High Court Circuits.

The RCC is chaired by the Most Senior Resident judge in the Circuit; with the Registrar as Secretary and comprised of the Chairpersons of all DCCs in the circuit and all JLOS institutional representatives with a regional mandate. Regional Chain-linked committees guide the rollout of SDP V in the circuit; backstop and provide direction to DCCs; link DCCs to the national level and vice versa and craft regional solutions to ensure attainment of JLOS SDP V results. RCCs are the conduits for information at the regional level; are a technical resource to DCCs and play an oversight role over SDP V implementation.



At the District level, JLOS is represented by the JLOS District Chain Linked Committee. This role is vital to SDP V implementation.  DCCs are responsible for joint planning, supervising, monitoring and evaluation of performance against set targets.   The DCCs are the frontline of JLOS management, and their effectiveness has the most influence on the effectiveness of the JLOS SIP V primary outputs and impact. DCCs are responsible for rallying all district based JLOS and non-JLOS resources towards the attainment of JLOS targets individually in their respective institutions and as a collective. Detailed roles of the DCCs will be spelt out in the Management Policy. Resources have been allocated to improve the governance; management systems and introduction of DCCs to results-based management systems and to ensure that DCCs have full knowledge of the JLOS SDP, annual and quarterly targets. 

The DCC comprises of the following representatives:

  1. JLOS institutional representatives at the district level
  2. Representatives of the legal profession
  3. District Probation and Social Welfare Officers.
  4. Relevant CSOs, Faith-based organizations and community structures engaged in advancing justice law and order in the district.
  5. The Local government representatives
  6. Nominated members of the public.

The DCC is chaired by the most senior judicial officer in the district and meets monthly. The DCC has two reporting lines. One is to the Advisory Board through the RCC and the other to the JLOS Technical Committee through the JLOS Secretariat. The DCCs report on a quarterly basis to the Technical Committee and monthly to their respective institutions. The Technical Committee reserves one meeting in every quarter to discuss reports of the DCCs. Regional implementation reviews complement sector secretariat feedback to the DCCs.




The Technical Committee comprises technical personnel from Access to Justice institutions at the level of head of departments. There is one representative from each of the A2J institutions, with one alternate designated by each institution. The following have one person each as a member of the Technical Committee in their own right: The Law Council; Administrator General; National Community Service Programme; Amnesty Commission; NGO Bureau; Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory and Criminal Investigations Directorate of UPF. (Only one member from each institution shall attend at a time). Other representatives include:

  1. The Senior Technical Advisor.
  2. Advisors from the Sector Secretariat.
  3. Chairperson and co-chairperson of JLOS Development Partners Technical Group
  4. JLOS Desk officers at MoFPED, MoPS and OPM

The Technical Committee drives the A2J SDP V strategy document and shall decompose the Leadership Committee vision and the Steering Committee direction into immediate, medium- and long-term strategic objectives. The Committee also plays an oversight role and coordinates strategy. The Technical Committee is responsible for the planning, technical direction and guidance, support, and management of the programme. The Technical Committee facilitates, supervises, and supports the JLOS Secretariat in the implementation of the JLOS SDP V.

The functions of the committee are the following:

  1. Drive the JLOS SDP V Strategy targets.
  2. Monitor sector performance and delivery of results.
  3. Provide strategic direction to the implementation of JLOS SDP V to ensure performance meets the standards by law and by the Leadership Committee
  4. Link the Programme within the institutions, to the JLOS Steering and Leadership structures and to the Working groups and sub-national implementation structures.
  5. Troubleshoot, report to and advise the Steering Committee on SDP V implementation.
  6. Providing the primary link between individual institutions and the sub-programme.

The Steering Committee is the body responsible for policy formulation, coordination, fundraising, external accountability, and quality assurance of the Access to Justice (JLOS) sub-programme results to the people of Uganda.  The Committee consists of the following officials from JLOS institutions:

  1. The Solicitor General (Chairperson)
  2. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (Alternate Chairperson)
  3. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Affairs
  4. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government
  5. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development
  6. Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
  7. Permanent Secretary/Secretary, Judicial Service Commission
  8. Secretary, Uganda Law Reform Commission
  9. Secretary, Uganda Human Rights Commission
  10. The Chief Registrar
  11. Director Law Development Centre
  12. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
  13. Inspector General of Police
  14. Commissioner General of Prisons
  15. Registrar General, Uganda Registration Services Bureau
  16. Executive Director, National Identification & Registration Authority
  17. Registrar, Tax Appeals Tribunal
  18. Director, Citizenship, and Immigration Control
  19. Secretary, Amnesty Commission
  20. President, Uganda Law Society
  21. Executive Director, CADER
  22. Chairperson Technical Committee (Ex officio)
  23. Senior Technical Advisor (Ex Officio)

The Steering Committee may co-opt any institution(s), individuals, Development Partners, or Non-State Actors as deemed necessary to their meetings. 

Mr. Francis Atoke, the Solicitor General is the current Chairperson of the Access to Justice Steering Committee.



This is the Committee comprised of all heads of institutions, who are ultimately accountable for the delivery of JLOS services in the country and is responsible for political leadership and guidance to the Sector.  It is responsible for the articulation of the JLOS Vision and Sector development policy. The Leadership Committee is comprised of the following officials:

  1. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA)
  2. The Attorney General
  3. Minister of Internal Affairs
  4. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
  5. Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development
  6. Minister of Local Government
  7. Minister of State for Internal Affairs
  8. Minister of State for Justice/Deputy Attorney General
  9. Director of Public Prosecutions
  10. Chairperson of the Uganda Law Reform Commission
  11. Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission
  12. Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission
  13. Chairperson of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau
  14. Chairperson CADER Governing Council
  15. Chairperson LDC Management Committee
  16. Chairperson Tax Appeals Tribunal
  17. Chairperson Citizenship and Immigration Board
  18. Chairperson of the NGO Bureau
  19. Chairperson of the Board-Amnesty Commission
  20. Chairperson National Identification and Registration Authority
  21. Chairperson Steering Committee- (ex officio)
  22. Chairperson Technical Committee- (ex officio)
  23. Senior Technical Advisor- JLOS Secretariat – (ex officio)

The Leadership Committee may co-opt any institution(s), individuals, Development Partners, or Non-State Actors as deemed necessary to their meetings. The Leadership Committee may create Ad hoc or Standing committees to support its work. The Leadership Committee will determine its rules of procedure. The Leadership Committee meets a minimum of two times a year.

Hon. Nobert Mao, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is the current chairperson of the Access to Justice Leadership Committee.



The Access to Justice Sub Programme seeks to deepen and broaden access to JLOS services through well targeted interventions aimed at enhancing access to services, mainstreaming human rights and gender equality, fighting corruption, and strengthening competitiveness and commercial justice.

Major priorities include:

  • Widening and deepening access to services of JLOS institutions.
  • Eliminating case backlog.
  • Addressing the wider civil and criminal justice challenges.
  • Development and funding of special Programmes to target gender, age, poverty, and other forms of vulnerability.
  • Mainstreaming national priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Innovations to bridge the gap between formal and informal justice systems, whilst being committed to national and international human rights standards.
  • Leverage technology to facilitate data driven decision making to solve justice problems and challenges; empower people to have high quality experiences with the justice system; and create e-justice platforms for information access and break barriers associated with access to justice services.
  • Tackling the growing concerns of corruption and human rights observance.
  • Proactive engagement and reaching out to actors outside the constitution of the Sector.




  1. Court hearings and appearances suspended for a period of 32 days with effect from 20th March 2020
  2. During this 32 day period, prisoners and remandees not to be presented in court
  3. All execution proceedings suspended
  4. Courts to continue handling certificates of urgency and taking plea for serious cases and bail applications
  5. All conferences, workshops, meetings and training programmes suspended
  6. Travel abroad for all Judicial staff suspended 
  7. MoH COVID-19 preventive guidelines in full force and operationalized on all service points

DOWNLOAD CIRCULAR: Revised contingency measures by the Judiciary to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Release date: August 3, 2021 / Issued by the Chief Justice)

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE:  Normal operations in the Courts in Uganda shall have to wait until the general opening of public transport, the Chief Justice, Bart M. Katureebe, has said.  (Published: May 28, 2020)

DOWNLOAD a circular issued by the Chief Justice on Covid-19 administrative measures.



DOWNLOAD a paper on COVID-19 and the administration of justice in Uganda (Published: May 18, 2020)




As one of the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in courtrooms, the Nateete/Rubaga Magistrate’s Court has labeled court seats in conformity with guidelines issued by H.E The President, the Chief Justice and Ministry of Health to curb the spread of Covid-19.





CONTACT the Judiciary using the information below: 


Courts of Judicature

High Court Building 

Plot 2, The Square

P. O. Box 7085, Kampala Uganda


Phone Contacts

Tel Line: +256 - (0) 414-344 116

Toll Free Lines :  0- 800 -111 900 / +256 - (0) 417- 892 900

Fax : +256 - (0) 414-344 110

Email : info [at]




#CIRCULAR: Additional operating procedures for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) during the COVID-19 pandemic (Release date: June 21, 2021)



# ODPP Administrative Guidelines 

In reference to the Presidential directives on the prevention and management of COVID-19, the ODPP on 20th March 2020 issued the following administrative measures to all staff in departments, divisions and all regional offices: 

1) Serious cases and those that pose a threat to public order and harmony to be registered in court for plea taking


2) Bail applications to be handled whenever the courts are sitting


3) Staff at the courts with video link to continue to operate of court decides to proceed


4) Regional ODPP officers to review committed files and prepare committal papers


5) Complainants allowed to only file written complaints at the registries and will follow up either on phone or after a period of 32 days


6) Registry staff to display phone numbers of the complaint desk officers as well as heads of stations


7) Scheduled national and international conferences and workshops postponed until further notice


8) No approval of foreign travels and those already approved rescinded until further notice


9) Sanitizers and other preventive measures put in place at ODPP service points in accordance to MOH COVID-19 protocols and guidelines



Prosecutors directed to advise Police as follows:


1) Process suspects for court in capital cases, serious or other offenses that are likely to disrupt social harmony and public order


2) Immediately produce suspects in court for plea and in any case not later than 48 hours


3) Process suspects in minor cases within 48 hours





 #ODPP Operating Procedures Circular

The Ag. Director of Public Prosecutions Mr. Alfred Elem-Ogwal has today issued a circular to all ODPP staff, JLOS institutions, the general public  and other stakeholders detailing operating procedures for the ODPP following the Presidential directives extending the COVID-19 lockdown for 21 days to 5th May 2020.



This circular follows the administrative guidelines issued on 20th March 2020 by Mr. Ogwal to all ODPP staff in the country. 





For any inquiries, the ODPP has provided the following contact information:


Mr. Vincent Wagona

Deputy DPP/Management and Support Services

Tel. 0794-332085


Ms. Jacquelyn Okui

Public Relations Officer

Tel. 0794-332233


Ms. Barbara Masinde

PA to the Ag. DPP

Tel. 0794-332472






Initiated electronic transaction of key services as a COVID-19 response measure to reduce client-staff contact. The following services can be transacted online via URSB platforms accessible on : applications related to business registration, intellectual property, civil registration and insolvency


The following services have been scaled down by URSB: civil weddings (reduced to 4 per day and only people allowed on site); procedure for submission of business registration documents amended with online/electronic notification adopted for clients on all actioned cases.




Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: 0417-38100/000

WhatsApp: 0712448448

Toll free line: 0800 100 006

Social media: URSBHQ (Facebook and Twitter)


DOWNLOAD a public notice issued by the Registrar General on URSB Covid-19 measures. 






All services involving client-staff contact suspended for 30 days effective 24th March 2020. Affected service points are: passport and immigration services, registration services for identification of persons, NGO regulation, management of community service orders and provision of forensic and testing services (DGAL).


Specifically for DCIC – all boarders have been closed in line with directive by H.E the president.


For inquiries and further information regarding  services at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, members of the general public can contact the specific institutions through the contacts listed below:




Toll Free Numbers 0800 211 700

USSD Code *216#

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Toll Free Numbers 0800 199 003/4

Tel: 0414 595 945/ 0752 451 811

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


NGO Bureau  


Tel: 0393 241 233

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Tel: 0800 100 450/0772 409 158

0414 250 464(Gen)/0414 250 474

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Community Service    


Tel: 0782027087/0772740189

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



READ STATEMENT by the Minister of Internal Affairs on Covid-19 measures.






The following services have been suspended by NIRA:

  1. Application, issuance and replacement of National IDs country wide;
  2. Change of particulars and rectification of information on National IDs;
  3. Checking status of applications;
  4. Issuance of letters of confirmation of information;
  5. Applications and issuance of birth and death certificates; and
  6. Issuance of Adoption Order Certificates.

However, NIRA shall continue processing applications already submitted including for national IDs and birth and death certificates. NIRA will also continue with the production of national IDs and dispatch these to its various offices countrywide.


Call 0800211700 toll free during working hours.  Dial *216# and follow the prompts to check NINs and status of applications 


DOWNLOAD public notice from NIRA regarding Covid-19 measures.






In an Administrative instruction issued to all Prison departments on 25th March 2020, the Commissioner General Uganda Prisons Service issued the following guidelines: 

  1. Institute Regional COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Task Forces chaired by RPCs comprising of DPCs, OCs, Regional Health Coordinators and Regional Rehabilitation and Re-integration officer
  2. Establish a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Task Force at every station chaired by the OC and composed of representatives of Health and welfare, In-charge Boma, Court Clerk, Receptionist, Station Orderly, In-charge Barracks
  3. Ensure availability and use of soap and water for frequent hand washing at all entry points including in the barracks
  4. Suspend all prison visitations and restrict movement of prisoners as well as staff and their relatives outside the barracks
  5. All prison admissions must be isolated on arrival at the prison until COVID-19 symptom screening has been conducted within 24 hours on arrival at the prison
  6. Establish a quarantine space for isolation of cases, which meet the case definition for COVID – 19 and report immediately to the District Task Force and to CGP.
  7. All RPCs, DPCs and OCs must be members of a District Task Force.

CONTACT Uganda Prisons Service.


 READ CIRCULAR issued by the Uganda Prisons Commissioner General in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.






The UPF is at the forefront of the COVID 19 response operation by GoU specifically through law enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines and public sensitization.


IGP issues new guidelines for Police Officers on Duty

The Inspector General of Police JM Okoth-Ochola(Esq) has issued instructions to all Police officers in Uganda following the establishment of a COVID 19 case at Masindi Police Station on Friday 1st May 2020. These guidelines include: 

a) All police officers must wear face masks at all times while on duty without excuse. Failure to do this shall lead to arrest and prosecution

b) No officer shall be found carrying a passenger, a suspect or a colleague on a motorcycle while on or off duty. Over loading police vehicles too is prohibited.

c) All officers in charge of Barracks administration are tasked with improving the Barracks environment to promote personal hygiene and good sanitation.


READ FULL STATEMENT (Published: May 4, 2020)



# UPF Covid-19 Sensitization Drive

The Department of Community Policing headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Anatoli Muleterwa is continuing its efforts to sensitive police officers and members of the public against the Covid-19 pandemic. On 30th March 2020, the team met the personnel from Fire Prevention and Rescue Services and their spouses.The officers and their spouses were offered key prevention tools against the pandemic. The team also met with the business community of Nakasero Market.





#Press Statement

As we enter day 6, of the 14-day dusk to dawn curfew and wider partial lockdown, we would like to start by wishing all Christians in Uganda a happy Palm Sunday.

And further inform the public that as we continue to monitor the behavior of the population we have noticed that there are still a few people taking risks by; failing to stay at home, violating the ban on public gatherings of not more than 5 people, defying the ban on passenger travel especially on bodabodas and use of private vehicles, illegally holding prayers and violating the dusk to dawn curfew (where pedestrians walk past 7pm; all persons jogging along the public roads and highways in groups , especially along the Northern bypass, Muyenga , Munyonyo, Kyanja, Kiwatule, Kisasi, Ntinda and others from Kireka, Seeta, Kirinya, Bweyogerere, and  Kiira and Kyaliwajjala, who gather at Namboole parking areas,  and shops in suburbs continue operating past 7pm). We would like to issue a serious warning to these rule breakers, that we won’t hesitate taking tougher action against them.

 READ FULL STATEMENT (Published: April 4, 2020)




Today, 18.04.2020, the Joint Task Force conducted nationwide operations to crackdown on motorists flouting the ban on movement of vehicles, as part of government efforts to fight the spread of the corona virus in Uganda. The task teams created several checkpoints and found motorists who had left their homes to visit friends, go for non-essential shopping, transporting passengers, while others had no reason


READ FULL STATEMENT (Published: April 19, 2020)



POLICE Emergency Contact Information






To ensure business continuity during this COVID-19 lockdown, the Uganda Law Society has partnered with the Judiciary to use Zoom Video Conferencing in adjudication of matters.

This will be done in line with the Judicature (Visual -Audio Link) Rules, 2016 (SI 26 of 2016) and the Constitution (Integration of ICT into the Adjudication Processes For Courts of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, 2019.

To make this process work, all practicing advocates in Uganda are required to send their contact details to the Judiciary ICT department to enable direct invitation of advocates and their clients to hearing activities like: Rendering of judgments and urgent hearings. 


CONTACT (ULS Head Office):


Plot 610, Buye, Ntinda along Wamala Road off Ntinda-Kisaasi road

P.O. Box 426 Kampala


EmaIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CLICK HERE for ULS regional contact information






In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has come with several interventions related to the observance of human rights.


These interventions include the following:


Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) acting chairperson Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti held a press conference on 25th March 2020 and engaged the media on issues of human rights observance during the COVID-19 response. Dr. Amooti said preventive measures by Government are consistent with the provisions of articles 23 and 43 of the country’s Constitution. He however urged security agents to respect human rights in the enforcement of the guidelines on preventive measures in line with article 221 of the Constitution. READ PRESS CONFERENCE REPORT


UHRC Central Regional Office is airing spot messages as a campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic with a human rights perspective .The messages are running on Capital FM, CBS(Kampala) ; Sun FM ( Mityana); Buwama FM (Moigi) and Tropical FM ( Mubende).


UHRC Commissioner Mr. Meddie Mulumba has been interviewed by NTV where he gave a comprehensive insight into the human rights perspective of the pandemic. WATCH VIDEO HERE


UHRC has also issued COVID-19 guidelines to its staff across all its central and regional offices during the lockdown


UHRC further issued a press statement on 24th April 2020 on the state of human rights in the fight against COVID-19. READ STATEMENT HERE


UHRC authored an OPED in New Vision Newspaper by Commissioner Patricia Okiria titled: "Legal framework on COVID-19 and implications on enforcement" published on 23rd April 2020. READ Op-Ed HERE


UHRC further issued a press statement on 25th March 2020 on human rights concerns in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. READ STATEMENT HERE


Radio talk shows on the COVID 19 and the human rights perspective have been held and others are still lined up on the following stations: Radio One, Dembe FM, Bukedde FM, Namirembe FM and Sun FM (Mityana)


UHRC on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 participated in a Webinar titled: "Should Uganda declare a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19?". The webinar was hosted by Bernard Oundo with the following panelists: Prof. Fredrick E. Ssempebwa, Founding and Senior Partner, Katende, Ssempebwa Advocates; Dr. Patricia Achan-Okiria, Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission; and Mr. Godber Tumushabe, Associate Director, Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.


UHRC authored an OPED in New Vision Newspaper by Commissioner Patricia Okiria titled: "Human rights-based effective response to COVID-19 in Uganda" published on 8th April 2020. READ Op-Ed HERE


UHRC Fort Portal regional office has developed a COVID-19 message/ poster and shared it on whatsapp groups, radios and on the UHRC online platforms


There are currently radio spot messages on Elgon radio in Kapchorwa that are being translated into kupsabiny by the Soroti regional office. The spot messages are in respect of limitations in enjoyment of human rights in respect of public interest with specific reference to public health and in particular COVID-19. The notices call upon the public to carry out their responsibilities by abiding by the Government directives in restrictions and other procedures. Urge them to respect rights of people suspected to be infected with COVID-19 and not to discriminate against them or subject them to mob action.  The messages further call upon the law enforcement officers to respect human rights in performance of their duties.


Discussions have been held with Etop Radio to conduct an on line radio talk show in respect of limitation of rights and responsibilities of citizen in respect of COVID-19 pandemic.


Complaints Management

The Commission received complaints during the lock down period through its toll free lines, social media platforms and emails. The complaints so far received relate to the following issues:


1. Complaints against the extension of the quarantine period for those who had been under institutional quarantine by Government

2. Complaints of alleged brutality by law enforcement and security officials whilst enforcing the Presidential directives of lock down and curfew

3. Complaints of alleged lack of access to food during the lock down period

4. Complaints of alleged lack of access to medical care during the lock down period

5. Complaints of violence in homes and heightened family wrangles during the lock down period.

6. Complaints of employees who were stuck at their work places in remote areas as a result of the Presidential directives and could not go back to their homes.

Some of the complaints were referred to the National Task Force on COVID-19 for appropriate management

In addition, the Commission has been making interventions with regard to arrests and detentions around the country, and has on various cases intervened to ensure that suspects on petty offenses are released on police bond in a timely manner, to avoid over crowding in cells. 


CLICK HERE to contact UHRC for inquiries, comments or complaints
































DOWNLOAD (PDF) - UHRC toll free contact information





 #Public Notice 

In compliance with the directives issued by His Excellency the President in his address to the nation on Wednesday 18th March 2020 to protect and safeguard the against the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, the Management Committee of LDC issued directives to students and staff.


DOWNLOAD (LDC Public Notice on COVID-19)






Last updated: April 24, 2020 (14.16 EAT)


By Timothy Lumunye

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is now a global health emergency, affecting more than a billion people worldwide. In more and more countries, normal life has effectively been suspended, as sweeping measures are introduced to control the spread of the disease by way of ‘lockdowns’, bans on social gatherings, and the closure of public facilities. These measures have also had an impact on criminal justice systems, as access to courts and prisons has come under severe restrictions. The administration of justice cannot come to a total standstill, whatever the circumstances.

It is essential that the Justice, Law and Order Sector continues to carry out essential functions, including the processing of criminal cases, and safeguarding the rights and welfare of accused persons, especially those who are on remand.

The accused persons on remand should be able to participate in criminal justice proceedings in person, and it is especially crucial that they are physically present in the courtroom during trial. This is not possible currently, because of the restrictions imposed by Uganda Prisons, in line with the standard public health guidelines.  The accused absence from the courtroom seriously undermines their ability to participate in criminal justice proceedings effectively, and the exercise of the rights of the defence.

Its high time Uganda Prisons came up with measures to enable inmates on remand attend court proceedings and prevent an unprecedented backlog of cases that could harm the effective administration of justice in the future.  This can be done in a phased manner, by opening up first, less congested Prison facilities. 

The Judiciary has taken extraordinary measures to keep criminal justice systems operational, preventing lengthy delays in criminal proceedings, and ensuring that urgent matters, such pre-trial detention hearings, are not postponed. The Judiciary does not however work in a vacuum and relies on other stakeholders in the Justice, Law and Order Sector (such as Police, Prisons, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) for it to be effective. With these stakeholders also substantially limited by the lockdown and other COVID-19 related restrictions, court business has literally ground to a halt, in as far as access to justice for accused persons on remand is concerned. 


Timothy Lumunye is a Grade 1 Magistrate at Nateete Rubaga court


Published: 24th March 2021

In May 2017, HiiL launched their latest Justice Data Report on Family Justice in Uganda. This was done at a workshop hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Kampala. The launch was accompanied by the attendance of representatives from the key actors from the justice system who are concerned with family justice, including the JLOS secretariat, the National Police, the Judiciary, DGF, LASPNET, IDLO and the Law Reform Commission.

The full report is now freely available and can be downloaded in English HERE: Family Justice in Uganda

This latest HiiL report follows the outcomes of nation-wide justice needs and satisfaction survey that HiiL conducted in Uganda in 2016. That report showed that justice problems relating to the family rank constitute the most prevalent justice problem for Ugandans. More than 1 million serious family justice problems occur in Uganda every year: most of them are domestic violence and separation related. As in other countries, this survey shows high impact of family problems on people’s lives. Impact on women is more severe than impact on men.

The Family Justice report contains a deeper understanding of the family-related problems that Ugandans face. This includes the processes people follow to solve these problems and the outcomes that they obtain when attempting to get a solution. It sets out the foundation for an agenda for innovation that builds on the needs of users of family justice processes.

Instead of proposing new legislation or financing additional services, the report outlines terms of reference and user stories: what should the family justice process achieve for women, men, girls and boys? What do justice providers from the informal or formal sector need, in order to help solve family problems more effectively?

The launching workshop concluded that the results of this study should become building blocks for an action plan to improve the treatment of family disputes in Uganda and first steps were taken to make this concrete.


By Nathalie Djikman, HiiL Justice Sector Advisor. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Published: June 19 2017