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The Supreme Court in Kampala today morning began hearing an appeal challenging the upholding of the amendment of the lower and upper age limit in the Constitution.

A group of three parties including the Uganda Law Society, lawyer Male Mabirizi and 11 MPs led by Winnie Kiiza are challenging the judgment by the Constitutional Court that okayed the removal of presidential age limit from the Constitution.

A panel of 7 judges including the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe,Paul Mugamba,Stella Amoko Arach, Ruby Apio Aweri, Jotham Tumwesigye, Eldad Mwanguhya and Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza will hear the petition for two days before delivering a judgment on the matter.

 

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Published: January 15, 2019

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019 09:41

11 Judicial Officers Transferred

 

The judiciary has transferred 11 judicial officers at the level of Registrars, Chief magistrates and Grade one magistrates. According to a circular dated 13th January 2019 by the judiciary communication department, the changes were announced on 11th January by the Chief Registrar Ms Esta Nambayo who said that they will be effected on 1st February 2019

“Two of the transferred judicial officers have just returned from their study leave abroad and we had to deploy them. The others were moved to newly created magisterial areas to take services nearer to the people” Esta Nambayo said

The affected judicial officers included Cissy Mudhasi whoo was moved from High court Mpigi to Mukono, Rwatooro Muhendo from Execution and Baillifs to High court Mpigi and Flavia Nabakooza from Mukono High court to Baillif and Execution

The chief magistrates affected were Patricia Amoko from Buganda Road court to Ntungamo chief magistrates court, Lubowa Daniel from acting chief magistrate to Caretaker AruaHigh court.

 

Published: January 15, 2019

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The Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart M. Katureebe has called for increased access to justice for vulnerable communities – specifically refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). In a paper titled “Forced Displacement: Legal protection and development” presented at a World Bank forum in Washington, DC, Justice Katureebe said that issues of refugees should be viewed as a global challenge that merit holistic resource allocation to tackle among other needs aspects of access to justice.

The Chief Justice was speaking during a closed-door meeting at the World Bank headquarters on the sidelines of the Law, Justice and Development Week in Washington DC on November 6 2018. Other notable participants in this meeting included Uganda’s ambassador to the United States, Amb. Mull Katende; the Hon. Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, Justice David Maraga and Hon. Justice Samir Adam Annour, the First President of the Chad Supreme Court.

On November 8 2018, Justice Katureebe met with Ms. Ann Kabagambe, the Executive Director World Bank African Group. During this meeting, the Chief Justice and Ms. Kabagambe discussed matters affecting the administration of justice in Uganda and the Judiciary’s E-Justice strategy. 

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: November 9, 2018

 

 

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KAMPALA - Ms. Rachel Odoi-Musoke, the JLOS Senior Technical Advisor was this afternoon recognized by Pepperdine University (CA, U.S) with an award for her role in spearheading innovations and reforms in Uganda's Justice Sector. This was during the Women in Leadership Conference held at Serena Kampala Hotel hosted by the Courts of Judicature.

 

About the Awards

The Sudreau awards are named after Laure Sudreau, a 1997 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law, who donated $8 million to fund its global justice program. The gift is the largest single endowment in the law school's history.

 

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The JLOS Development Partner Group and members of the JLOS sector carried out a monitoring visit to Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court to discuss issues critical to case backlog management as part of the broader implementation of the Fourth Sector Development Plan (SDPIV). The visit focused on engaging judicial officers and other stakeholders on case backlog management. The first part comprised of a dialogue with judicial officers to discuss issues pertaining to case management and adjudication. The main objective of the monitoring visit which is part of the sector reporting on implementation of the strategic plan was meant to contribute to implementation of the sector case backlog strategy, improve case disposal outcomes, share challenges, best practices and opportunities for improvement. 

In the afternoon the team engaged in a multi stakeholder Focused Group Discussion on the same subject. Invited participants included representatives from the front line JLOS institutions Planning unit of Uganda Police Force, Corrections directorate of the UPS, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspectorate of Courts, representatives from the Judiciary and Uganda Prisons, Justice Centres, Paralegal Advisory Services, legal aid service providers network, Director Government Analytical Laboratory, Remand Home personnel, Uganda Law Society and other stakeholders.

It is hoped that the outcome of this and other monitoring visits will strengthen JLOS-Development Partner engagement, create an environment for sharing of information, address challenges, opportunities and provide an avenue for peer review, better coordination, collaboration and communication that will strengthen case management and general access to justice services. The ultimate goal is to facilitate effective  implementation of the sector case backlog strategy and over sector Development Plan.

The Deputy Senior Technical Advisor of the JLOS Secretariat welcomed members to the visit and emphasized that the monitoring process is part of the reporting process to sector development partners and stakeholders; providing an enabling environment for sharing issues, best practices and crafting interventions to improve the administration to justice thereby creating safe and secure environment within which all Ugandans can thrive. 

The Chief Magistrate of Nakawa Court  welcomed the team and made a presentation on issues pertaining to the court. He informed the meeting that Nakawa has three Grade One gazette stations of Nakawa, Luzira and Ntinda which is yet to be operationalized.  Nakawa presently has 4 Grade 1 Magistrates and Luzira has one.

 

Reporting by: Lucy Ladira | Published: March 27 2018

 

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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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DOWNLOAD STATEMENT

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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