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H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni graced the 3rd annual national legal aid conference on August 10 2015. The conference organised by the Justice, Law and Order Sector in partnership with Justice Centres Uganda and supported by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) was held under the theme "Sustainable funding and delivery of legal aid services by the state". H.E the president pledged to have the legal aid bill tabled in parliament in the near future.


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icon Speech by the Chief Justice (211.46 kB)

icon Speech by the Minister of Justice (226.2 kB)

icon Speech by H.E Alphons Hennekens, Dutch Ambassador (73.23 kB)

icon Press Statement on the 3rd Annual National Legal aid Conference (918.58 kB)

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It’s my pleasure to address you concerning Legal Aid in Uganda and particularly, the upcoming National Legal Aid Conference due to take place on 10th August 2015 at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo. The Purpose of this Conference is to create awareness about the on-going efforts to establish a Policy, Law and National Institution on Legal Aid. The ultimate objective of the Conference is to fast track the establishment of the National Legal Aid Body. Legal Aid is the provision of free legal services to the poor, vulnerable and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of paid lawyers. Article 21 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for Equality before the Law. To ensure equality of all persons before the Law and to enhance access to Justice, the provision of Legal Aid is critical.

As such, Government of Uganda has put in place measures to ensure that there is fairness in the Administration of Justice. Currently, State legal aid service providers include the Judiciary through the State Brief Scheme under which every person charged with a Capital offence is provided with an advocate at the Cost of the State, Justice Centres Uganda which is a Project of the Justice Law and Order Sector that provides Legal Aid on behalf of the State across civil and criminal justice and the Human Rights Commission. Legal aid has thus far been provided by non state actors such as FIDA and the Legal Aid Project of the Uganda Law Society.

The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) with support from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) and in consultation with other state and non state actors developed the National Legal Aid Policy which is currently before cabinet for approval. After that, a National Legal Aid Bill shall be tabled before Parliament. The passing of this law will result in the establishment of a National Body with a mandate to provide Legal Aid across all areas of the Law.

The Government is committed to supporting programmes that promote economic development.The provision of legal Aid greatly empowers individuals and communities as a whole and as such, a comprehensive delivery of State funded legal Aid would in the long term result in the realisation of Uganda’s development aspirations espoused in Vision 2040.

To have Legal Aid in place, the Government and indeed all the other stakeholders will need to be clear on how it will be funded and how sustainable this funding will be. Furthermore, it is critical that the service offered is of good professional quality and that there are standards in place to ensure this. The Conference is therefore, going to spend a significant amount of time investigating these issues and to this end we have invited legal aid practitioners from other jurisdictions including South Africa and the USA to learn from the best. They will share experiences on how they have ensured a sustainable professional legal aid service delivery to the extent that in South Africa, even people who can afford the service are requesting the legal aid programme to open a section for those who can afford. We know that these will go a long way in informing Uganda’s efforts towards legal aid delivery by the State.

The conference shall be officiated by H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda and at this conference, we shall take stock of how far we have come and come up with a way forward on when, how, how much money, and all other modalities required to support legal aid services by the State of Uganda.

Government is therefore in full support of the establishment of the body and will provide the requisite guidance and support towards this cause. I therefore invite you to create as much awareness as possible about these efforts in order to generate discussions and consultations about what this service should look like.

I thank you! 



Issued: August 7, 2015 at the Uganda Media Centre, Kampala


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Legal aid is the provision of free or subsidized legal services to mainly poor and vulnerable people who cannot afford the services of paid lawyers. The right to legal aid is well entrenched in the International and Regional human rights treaty framework to most of which Uganda is a state party. The provision of legal aid addresses the concerns of the poor and vulnerable by focusing on challenges arising from: affordability of user costs, lack of legal representation, and alienation due to technicalities, language and ignorance of legal rights.

Poverty, ignorance of the law, the effect of armed conflict, disability or other vulnerability or marginalization are some of the factors that undermine access to justice for the majority of Ugandans. The provision of Legal Aid will greatly contribute to the empowerment of individuals and communities – a key ingredient of poverty reduction efforts thereby contributing to economic development.

The provision of Legal Aid by the state will not only benefit particular affected individuals but the state as a whole. It will reduce case backlog by ensuring that litigants do not file frivolous cases. In turn, the time that would have been spent in the lengthy litigation process will be used to engage in productive activities. The Government of Uganda banks on the agricultural sector to boost economic growth. Notably, Agriculture in Uganda is done in the rural areas by the people who are most affected by poverty. When these people interface with the Justice system, they usually spend their little earnings, in the unpredictable and lengthy litigation. With legal Aid, such persons would be given appropriate legal advice, which would save their time and see them invest their energies in productive work.

About the Conference
Every year, with support from Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) and the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS), Justice Centres Uganda and other non-state actors under the Legal Aid Service Provider’s Network (LASPNET) brings together key decision makers to discuss Legal Aid service provision in Uganda and to track its progress. This year’s conference is organized under the theme; “Sustainable Funding and Legal Aid Service Delivery by the State” and shall be held from August 9-10, 2015 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala. H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda is expected to grace the occasion as the chief guest. By drawing lessons from other Jurisdictions such as South Africa where the Legal Aid scheme has worked excellently and with guidance from key stakeholders in the Government of Uganda, participants will discuss the sustainability of a state funded Legal Aid Body in Uganda.

Conference Objectives
The 3rd Annual Legal Aid Conference is intended;
1)    To discuss the current efforts to establish a National Legal Aid body.
2)    To discuss the sustainability of a state funded Legal Aid Body.
3)    To share the lessons and best practices learnt in Legal Aid service delivery.

Target Audience
The conference shall bring together key stakeholders, policy and decision makers in Uganda including representatives from the Executive, Parliament, Judiciary, other Government Diplomatic missions and civil society organisations among others.

For more information, Contact:
Justice Centres Uganda
National Coordination office.
Chambers F6 and F8, High Court Building, Kampala.

P. O. Box 26365 Kampala

Tel: Office: +256 414 256626
Toll free line: 080 010 0210

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

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


Published in Latest News


The media fraternity has been called upon to sensitize the public on the issue of legal aid as part of corporate social responsibility to society. This call was made by the Judiciary Chief Registrar, Mr. Paul Gadenya while opening a media workshop organized by Justice Centres Uganda at Hotel Africana held on May 7 2015. Mr. Gadenya asked the media to take advantage of its deeper reach and available platforms to advance the noble cause of legal aid. Mr. Gadenya who revealed that 90% of users of the legal system are poor and cannot afford a lawyer lauded efforts of Justice Centres Uganda for championing their rights of the indigent enshrined in the Constitution. “The law is made for the protection of all citizens, poor and rich alike. It is therefore the duty of the state to make its machinery work …for the rich and the poor”, he said.

The National Coordinator, Justice Centres Uganda (JCU), Ms. Christine Birabwa Nsubuga took participants through the basics of the National legal aid policy. She described the National Legal Aid Policy as an instrument that provides the foundation for Legal Aid to all deserving Ugandans and challenged the media to advocate for its approval by Cabinet and subsequent operationalization.

During the plenary discussions, participants engaged Justice Centre’s officials in interactive discussions on how issues of publicity and media advocacy of legal aid can be addressed. The media pledged to work closely with Justice Centres Uganda in legal aid outreach through consistent engagement on various platforms and forums. Officials from Justice Centres were also on hand to respond to questions raised by the media in regard to JCU’s legal aid service provision model.

Over 50 representatives of the Uganda media fraternity (print and electronic) participated in this event that set the stage for a concerted media campaign by Justice Centres to sensitize the public on matters of legal aid.


Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on upcoming JCU media engagements.


By Edgar Kuhimbisa  | Published: May 8, 2015

Published in Latest News


The Justice, Law and Order Sector in partnership with with Justice Centers Uganda held the 1st National Legal Conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo on October 27-28 2011. On the sidelines of the conference, we had a chat with JUSTICE EDWIN MOGOMOTSI MOLAHLEHI  - Deputy Chair of Legal Aid Board South Africa who was a conference guest  speaker on the subject  ’Implementing the Constitutional Right to Legal Aid – The South African experience’.  Justice Molahlehi spoke to JLOS' Edgar Kuhimbisa and Diana Natukunda in this exclusive interview.


 DOWNLOAD this interview.

Published in The Big Interview


KAMPALA-- The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kahinda Otaiire today held a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre in regard to the upcoming 2nd National Legal Aid Conference scheduled to take place from June 26 - 27, 2014 here in Kampala. The Minister was accompanied by stakeholders and partners in legal aid service provision that included representatives from the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), Judiciary, Uganda Law Society, Law Development Centre (Legal Aid Clinic) and Justice Centres Uganda.

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 15:18

Interview with the President, Uganda Law Society


The Uganda Law Society is one of the 17 member institutions of the Justice, Law and Order Sector. The Uganda Law Society (ULS) is an association of lawyers charged with ensuring high levels of professionalism among lawyers in Uganda. The mission of ULS is to improve the professional standards of members of the Legal Profession, and to promote Human Rights, and the Rule of Law in Uganda by assisting the Government and the Judiciary in the Administration and practice of Law for the benefit of the people of Uganda.

Recently, www.jlos, sat down with the President Uganda Law Society, Ms. Ruth Ssebatandira and asked her about the various reforms being implemented by the society.




By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Published: November 20, 2013

Published in Archived News
Sunday, 16 June 2013 09:53

National Legal Aid Open Day


Justice Centres Uganda, is coming to the end of the three year pilot phase on 30th June 2013. As part of the activities to mark the end of pilot phase, Justice Centres Uganda is holding a two day open legal aid clinic in which the public will be offered free legal aid services from 18th to 19th June 2013, at the Constitutional Square in Kampala.


In carrying out this activity, Justice Centres Uganda will collaborate with other Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) institutions including; the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prisons Service, Judiciary, Uganda Law Council (ULC), Uganda Law Society (ULS), Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Department of the Administrator General and other legal aid service providers and non state actors, such as Paralegal Advisory Services (PAS), Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF), National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU), Uganda Women Lawyers Association (FIDA).


The activity is intended to bring together the access to justice institutions, for purposes of enabling members of the public have their legal and human rights issues addressed by the Institutions to which these challenges relate, in a bid to bring access to justice closer to the people.

For more information, contact:
Justice Centres Uganda.
National Coordination office
Mengo Chief Magistrates Court
Tel: Office: 256 759500440/1
Toll free line 080 010 0210
See also:
You can also visit the Legal Aid Document Centre for instant downloads
By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: June 16 2013
Published in Archived News

MUNYONYO - The 1st National Legal Conference was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo on October 27-28, 2011 with a call to government to prioritize legal aid provision as a right as well as a necessity for promotion of public order and rule of law. It was also recommended that conference discussions should inform the on-going process of developing and reforming the policy and legislative framework, in particular, the National legal aid policy and the Legal aid Bill.

The proposed policy and legislation should be comprehensive to cover all aspects of legal aid with the Justice, Law and Order Sector tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that further discussions and consultations on the proposed policy and legal framework on legal aid are held to address the emerging issues discussed in the conference.

The Chief Justice in his keynote address applauded the great work being done by various legal aid service providers in Uganda saying that statistics showed that close to three million people received some sort of legal aid in the previous years alone. Justice B J Odoki while thanking the development partners for funding legal aid programmes further requested them to continue offering funding to the legal aid service providers and the Justice Law and Order Sector under the Legal aid Basket Fund. He also urged them to continue engaging with the country to expand the definition and scope of legal aid to cover both legal representation and assistance for civil and criminal matters.

On the same occasion, a documentary film titled Bringing Justice Home: The Real Story was premiered. Bringing Justice Home: The Real Story was filmed on location in Soroti and Lira profiling legal aid success stories. The film was produced by the Justice Centres Uganda in partnership with the Justice, Law and Order Sector.

Published in Archived News
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 09:11

Justice Centres Uganda


While Promoting the rights of vulnerable communities through provision of quality human rights based legal aid, legal rights awareness, community outreach, empowerment and advocacy.

Justice Centres are a one-stop-shop legal aid service delivery model that seeks to bridge the gap between the supply and demand sides of justice by providing legal aid services across civil and criminal areas of justice to indigent, marginalized and vulnerable persons, while at the same time empowering individuals and communities to claim their rights and demand for policy and social change.

Justice Centres represent the beginning of fundamental efforts to restructure the provision of legal aid in Uganda and the singular objective of making legal aid easily available and accessible at the right time to the most deserving population and at the right place.

Vision: Vulnerable societies accessing quality legal services and realizing their rights.

Mission: To promote the rights of vulnerable communities through provision of quality human rights based legal aid, legal and rights awareness, community outreach, empowerment and advocacy.

Core Values:
• Professional excellence
• Ethics and Integrity
• Accountability
• Non Discrimination

Core Principles:
(a) Utilize existing resources and avoid duplication of processes.
(b) Link to government structures.
(c) Community participation.
(d) Deliver cost effective and quality services.
(e) Cooperation and linkages with other stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations and private advocates for pro bono services.

Objectives of Justice Centres Uganda
• To enhance awareness of human rights and empower communities to claim their rights.
• To enable vulnerable individuals and communities to effectively resolve disputes using both litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
• To undertake human rights centred and evidence based advocacy for reform of laws, Policies and Practices.
• To pilot Justice Centres as a model for delivery of legal aid services in Uganda.

Services Offered: Legal Advice, Legal representation, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Counseling, Legal Awareness, Referrals and a Toll free phone line

Who Qualifies For Services?
For you to qualify for Justice Centres services, you must be one of the most indigent persons in Uganda.

Districts Served by Justice Centres:Lira : Amolatar, Pader, Apac, Kitgum, Oyam, Dokolo, Kaberamaido, and Kotido districts. Tororo: Bukwa, Bududa, Manafwa, Busia, Pallisa, Butaleja, Namutamba, Bugiri, and Iganga districts.

Justice Centres Uganda.
National Coordination office.
Chambers F6 and F8 High Court Building, Kampala.
P. O. Box 26365 Kampala
Tel: Office: 256 759500440/1
Toll free line 080 010 0210

Email: info[at]

Justice Centres Tororo
Tororo Chief Magistrate’s Court
Uhuru Road, Tororo
Tel: 0759 500443
Toll free line 080 010 0211

Justice Centres Lira
Lira Chief Magistrates Court
Toll Free line : 080 010 0212

Published in Projects
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