October 03, 2023

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Legal Aid

Legal Aid (3)

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

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]justicecentres.go.ug

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

Enhancing access to justice for all persons is a key objective of the justice law and order sector. This includes enhanced physical access to Justice Law and Order Sector services and improved efficiency in services delivery. Access to justice however also entails special measures to ensure improved access to services by the most vulnerable members of the society.

Legal aid, including legal assistance is a cornerstone of the justice system and contributes to equitable access to justice by the whole community. Currently legal aid service provision is restricted to mainly legal representation in certain criminal matters by the State and legal aid by non-state actors. The Justice Law and Order Sector is currently developing a comprehensive national policy on legal aid to provide the framework for the provision and regulation of legal aid services in Uganda, in line with Uganda’s national, regional and international obligations.