You are here: HomeDisplaying items by tag: Judiciary


January 19, 2016 | Commonwealth Speke Resort, Munyonyo (Kampala)


The Rt. Honorable Prime Minister of Uganda

The Hon the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda 

The Hon Justice Kihara Kariuki, President of the Court of Appeal representing the Chief Justice of Kenya

The Hon the Principal Judge 

The Justices of the Supreme Court 

The Justices of the Court of Appeal 

The Judges of the High Court 

The Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet

Retired Judges

The Solicitor General

The Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service

The inspector General of Police

The Secretary to the Judiciary 

The Chief Registrar

Chairpersons of Statutory Commissions

Heads and members of JLOS Institutions 

Yours Worships

Invited Guests 

Ladies and Gentlemen 


It is a great honour for me to welcome you to the 18th Annual Judges Conference, which brings Judges together to discuss the performance of the Judiciary and pertinent issues affecting the administration of justice. The Conference is coming early in the year and it is only fitting that I wish each of you a prosperous 2016.  I hope that the New Year will be one of self fulfillment, contentment and bring joy to our lives, both at home and at work.

This morning we are blessed to have the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister as our Chief Guest.  We were also honoured and privileged to have the Hon. Justice Paul Kihara Kariuki representing the Chief Justice of Kenya as our keynote speaker.  We are honoured to have Judge Donald Bernice, a Justice of the United States Court of Appeal, Sixth Circuit as our Guest Speaker. 

I am pleased to welcome the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister to this Conference and to thank him for kindly accepting to preside and speak to the Judges despite his extremely busy schedule. The Rt. Honourable Prime Minister has throughout his political career been true to the belief that Government only functions well, when the three organs of the State work in harmony and score in one goal post for the common good of all.

I want to very warmly welcome Justice Paul Kihara Kariuki, representing the Chief Justice of Kenya to Uganda. Your Honour, I am grateful that you accepted to speak to us on the important subject of judicial accountability and its implications on the administration of justice.  Kenya has undertaken bold reforms in the Judiciary which appear to have restored public confidence in the Judiciary in that Country.  We are convinced that we in Uganda can and should learn from the experiences of our neighbor and Partner in the East African Community.

In a very special way, I would like to recognize and welcome Judge Bernice Donald, a Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, who is more than a friend of Uganda. Justice Donald, in 2014, conducted excellent training for Ugandan appellate Justices in Washington DC.  We all remember her for the practical approach to justice issues that should be of interest to individual Judges and Judiciaries interested in implementing cost effective and simple life changing approaches to reforming justice.  Your Honour, I hope through interactions with us over the next few days, you will be able to assess whether your students learned anything from you.

I hope that our two special visitors will find some time to enjoy the beautiful weather, and all the famed attributes of Uganda that led Sir Winston Churchill to describe it as “The Pearl of Africa.” 

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister, our relationship with the Executive and the Legislature has been excellent despite the occasional tensions. Our relationship continues to be defined by mutual respect, openness and candidness, with a common understanding that each organ of the State has a unique way to contribute to the development of the State in Uganda.  We all must appreciate the crucial role played by each of the three branches of Government and the need to accord each branch due respect for its independence.  The independence of the Judiciary in particular must be above reproach if the people of this Country are to continue to have confidence in the administration of Justice.  Let us all appreciate that the administration of Justice is a cornerstone of good governance, which in turn is a requisite for development. 

In the recent past, the Executive has focused some attention on the Judiciary and its most pressing problems. I would like to thank H.E The President for honoring his promise to improve the remuneration of Judges. Recently, the Government provided an extra 5.3 billion shillings which has enabled the Judiciary to double housing and medical allowances for Judges and increase salaries for other Judiciary staff by ten percent. This obviously is not adequate.  The salaries of the lower bench need to be attended to and raised so as to financially secure these Judicial officers. I hope that Government will continue to prioritize improving the climate for administration of justice in Uganda and remunerating Judiciary staff well.

Secondly, I commend H.E The President for appointing 6 Justices of Appeal and 6 Justices of the Supreme Court.   With these appointments, the courts will be able to improve service delivery in the administration of justice. I am hopeful that H.E the President will soon appoint 16 Judges of the High Court to fill the existing vacancies in the High Court. We also appeal to you Rt. Hon. Prime Minister to champion the presentation of a Resolution in Parliament to increase the number of High Court Judges from 51 to 82.  

Rt. Hon. Prime Ministers, there remains the issue of the Judiciary Administration Bill.  This Bill has been pending for an unreasonable length of time.  It is high time that it is given the priority it deserves.


The 18th Annual Judges Conference 

This year’s Annual Judges Conference is special in a number of ways. It is the first Conference that will be addressed by the Chief Justice from Tanzania, President from the Court of Appeal from Kenya, a Judge of the Federal Court of Appeals from Washington, DC and other distinguished speakers from other institutions other than the Judiciary. 

The choice of the speakers was intended to raise the level of debate in the Judiciary and expose Judges to global and regional best practices, especially from regions that have made remarkable progress in improving the speed and quality of the administration of justice through organic evolution, sheer hard work, innovation and judicial reform. We stand to learn from Kenya, Tanzania, Singapore and the United States of America, whose experience will permeate the proceedings of the Conference. 

We also stand to share our excellent reforms with our brothers in Kenya and Tanzania in the area of plea bargaining, small claims procedure, taking of evidence by Video Link, commercial justice and collaboration in the justice sector.  


The Business of the Court in 2015

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister, the courts were very busy in the last Financial Year. For the first time in our history, the courts disposed of 150,052 cases and for the first time, the pending cases were less than the disposed of cases. In terms of case backlog reduction, we were able to resolve most pending cases and new cases. I thank all Judicial Officers and other JLOS staff for the hard work and sacrifice that generated this impressive performance. I look forward to working with you in the New Year to further transform the Judiciary with the view of improving efficiency in the administration of Justice, in order to promote investment and public confidence in the administration of Justice.

I call upon Government to improve and offer competitive terms of service for judicial officers and Judiciary staff, which are at the core of improved service delivery in the Judiciary.


The theme of the Conference

The theme for the Conference is Promoting the Rule of Law through Judicial Accountability and Excellence. This theme was chosen to celebrate the benefits of the rule of law to humanity and examine contributions that institutions like the Judiciary can make to deepen the rule of law in the world. 

According to the United Nations, the rule of law refers:

 To a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency." (S/2004/616)

The rule of law emphasizes freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, and respect for the environment and shared responsibilities by all towards humanity. Its benefits to humanity include peace, stability, and respect for fundamental freedoms, good governance and equal protection. 

The rule of law is not a self-effecting concept and therefore requires a strong, independent and accountable Judiciary to uphold and enforce it, regardless of the level of development of a particular country. Judges should be able to speak with the full confidence of the law without getting worried about noncompliance with their decisions. 

As Judges, we can only do our job well in promoting the rule of law by, among other things, doing our work well and accepting restraints imposed on us by the doctrine of accountability in article 126 of the Constitution. 

Article 126(1) provides that: 

Judicial power is derived from the people and shall be exercised by the courts established under this Constitution in the name of the people and in conformity with the values, norms and aspirations of the people.  

According to the Latimer House principles on the accountability of and the relationship between the three branches of Government: 

Judges are accountable to the Constitution and to the law which they must apply honestly, independently and with integrity.  The principles of judicial accountability and independence underpin public confidence in the judicial system and the importance of the Judiciary as one of the three pillars upon which a responsible government relies.

Rebecca and Olin have argued in their book – Rebuilding Justice “that the justice system is fundamental to our democracy. The courts are the counterweight to the other two branches of government, assuring that no branch becomes overzealous. Our founders specifically established a system of government that is not pure majoritarian rule; rather, it is a system that focuses on protecting the rights of individuals – even against the majority if need be. The courts are the last line of defense for those rights - safeguard.”

This quote is as true of the USA as it is of Uganda.  Our Constitution has vested Judicial Power in the Courts and the Courts have also been given the mandate to interpret the Constitution and even review legislative and executive actions.  This is enormous power given to the branch that neither controls the sword nor the purse.  But this also places enormous responsibility on the Judiciary.  The decisions of the Judiciary must meet with Public confidence and respect.  How then do we as Judges ensure that the Public continues to trust us and our decisions? This question has been answered by the Chief Justice of Singapore in a paper entitled “The Integrity of Judges” presented to the Biennial Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and the Pacific (2013). [See “CORE VALUES OF AN EFFECTIVE JUDICIARY” at Page 5]  He opined as follows:-  

“If we stop to think about it, it is nothing short of remarkable that society in general accepts what judges say justice is according to the law.  What accounts of this? Why do our fellow citizens repose such trust in the Judiciary, an unelected and democratically-unaccountable body? Part of the answer lies in the qualitative advantage a judge is supposed to have over the ordinary citizen who lacks the requisite legal knowledge and expertise to check the rightness of a decision; we are expected to know and correctly apply the law.  However, no matter how learned in the law, how logically impeccable or how intellectually forceful our judgments are, all of this will come to naught if the very source of these decisions, the Judiciary, is perceived by the public as being untrustworthy.  I suggest that this is the bedrock on which we must stand.  Society accepts our judgments because they trust us and because they expect and believe that we will be the incorruptible guardians of the law; ultimately that we are men and women of integrity.  On this analysis, judicial integrity is the basis upon which our legitimacy as an institution is founded in the eyes of the community and it is the condition for public acceptance of our authority.”

I must state with full humility that I fully concur with the above statements.  We in Uganda need to think deeply about the sage words.

The Courts lacking the purse and sword as they are, have therefore got an uphill task to help the public achieve full realization of the rule of law in an open and democratic country, like Uganda.

The Uganda Judiciary has and continues to play its rightful role in upholding the rule of law as demonstrated by the increasing rate of case disposal, adjudication of high profile cases without fear and/ or favour and for acting against the excesses of the other organs of the state through its adjudicative role. We must continue in that spirit with even greater vigour so that the independence of the Judiciary is fully entrenched in this country.  Anything short of that would undermine the Rule of Law.  In discussing the theme of this Conference, we should seriously think about our duty and role in the preservation of the Rule of Law.  


The threats to the Rule of Law in Uganda

Limited access to justice for the vulnerable remains the single most challenge undermining the rule of law in Uganda despite tremendous strides in the administration of justice. According to a JLOS baseline survey access to courts was found to be a paltry 6.45% as compared to local council courts that stood at an average of 69.1%. As of last year, we completed 150,052 cases but we left 114,512 cases pending in the system. With these figures, less than 25% of the population trust the courts with the most vulnerable holding the view that justice serves only the rich.

Our timelines for case disposal, though improving, sadly remain below the international best practice of resolving disputes under one year. On average, it takes the Supreme Court 1200 days to resolve an appeal; the Court of Appeal 700 days to resolve an appeal. In the High Court it takes 740 days to resolve a case. For Magistrates, it takes 275 days to resolve a case. Appeals in the High Court take more than 1600 days to resolve. We need affirmative action to reduce these worrying destructive timelines if we are to improve access of the courts to the poor.

On the side of certainty of judicial proceedings and processes we score poorly. In Uganda, case schedules are not certain and most Judgments are still delivered on notice and even where notice is given, timelines are hardly complied with. Cases are adjourned liberally despite clear rules under the Case Management Regime which discourages unmeritorious adjournment. It is no wonder that many people perceive our system as weak, unpredictable, discriminatory and unreliable and a major drawback to positioning Uganda as a safe destination for investment, tourism and a safe place to grow in.=

We cannot in this era of great advancement in technology and improvements in case management across the globe, allow our Justice system to be inefficient. I therefore propose to make the following changes in the way we administer justice in Uganda.


Priorities for 2016  

National Court Case Census :

Recently we carried out a National Court Case Census to determine how many cases were pending in the Judiciary with emphasis on, among others, how long the cases have been in the system and establish the reasons for the delay, with the view of making proposals to better the adjudication process in our country. As of now, a team led by the Hon Justice Henry Peter Adonyo is finalizing the report. However, preliminary findings indicate that we have 114,512 active cases at different stages of hearing and many of these cases can be weeded out because they do not deserve to be in the courts. In addition, preliminary findings reveal that most of the civil cases are made up of interlocutory applications that can easily be handled through expedited hearing and allocating them to registrars to deal with them. 

Equally, we identified courts with a lot of cases and identified courts with very little work and some, non-operational. Armed with this information, we are going to design a comprehensive case backlog reduction strategy to tackle the existing case backlog through targeted clearance of old cases, weeding out of unmeritorious cases, deployment of staff based on case load and targets and heightened use of plea bargaining to address the huge case load of capital cases in the High Court.  Case backlog clearance will be combined with other interventions to improve the performance of the Judiciary. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no doubt that there is a problem in case management, I have instructed Justice Adonyo and his Committee to make proposals for a Practice Direction in this regard.

On this note, let me take this opportunity to thank Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary Court Census and his team for a job well done and My Lord the Hon the Principal Judge for spearheading the Monitoring and evaluation team that monitored the two day census activity and their Lordships and Worships who stayed at their stations to participate in the exercise.

I also wish to thank the Executive Director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics Mr. Ben Mungyereza for offering technical support to the team that carried out the exercise. I am sure without this input the challenges would have been enormous.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there were no resources to undertake this exercise; however when I talked to the Secretary to the Judiciary, she looked for the money and I thank her for that.


Streamlining management of appeals :

In the Supreme Court, the Court will sit throughout the year to deal with all the business in the court. The Rules of the Supreme Court are to be amended to limit timelines for arguing appeals (this work is in progress by the Justice Tsekooko Committee on Reform of Civil and Criminal Laws). 

It is proposed that all appeals will be filed with written submissions and oral arguments will be limited to not more than one hour per appeal. Oral arguments will only be limited to clarifications by counsel on points which are not clear. Dates for delivery of judgments will be communicated at the end of the trial, except in exceptional circumstances, where the parties will be notified within two weeks.  

Internally within the court, Justices who are tasked with writing draft judgments of the court will be given a specified number of days to generate drafts. Responses to the drafts by the other members of the Coram shall be done also within a specified period. My goal is to have judgments of the Supreme Court out in less than 90 days but in any case not later than 180 days. Selection of the Coram of Justices to hear cases will be made in such a way as to promote transparency in the administration of justice.  Adjournments and ill preparation of counsel and records will be severely discouraged to promote procedural efficiency.  These innovations will equally apply to the Court of Appeal to improve the efficiency and performance of the court.


Reducing Red tape and Bureaucracy in the administration of Justice :

I intend to pro-actively use Article 133 (1) of the Constitution to enhance efficiency in the administration of justice in Uganda through issuance of Orders and Directions, especially, in reducing red tape, bureaucracy, maladministration of justice and inefficiency. The makers of the Constitution in enacting this provision, were motivated by the need to streamline the administration of justice and give the Chief Justice Powers to deal with people’s concerns about the Judiciary which included delay of justice, discrimination, indiscipline and impunity by judicial officers and other vices in the administration of justice. 


Revolutionalising hearing of interlocutory applications :

Simplifying, limiting and easing hearing of interlocutory applications which constitute 60% of civil cases throughout all the courts is to be prioritized through the reform of the Civil Procedure Rules.  The goal should be to clear applications within a short time and at the least cost to the parties. Consequently, the Civil Procedure Rules are to be amended to provide for filing of applications and responses with written submission to limit oral hearings. Judges and Registrars are to be empowered under the same amendment to dispose the applications with or without hearing the parties except where the justice of the case demands oral arguments.  Through this procedure, we hope to dispose of cases promptly and reserve the limited court time for hearing of substantive applications.  That said, the Rules will have inbuilt safeguards to prevent abuse of court process by all the officers of the court.


Efficient utilization of judicial time: 

We lose a lot of judicial time on travels abroad and attending workshops/seminars that are not essential or do not add value to the courts. Consequently, judicial officers, will be allowed to travel abroad if the judicial calendar permits.  Priority must be given  to adjudication of cases.

The Deputy Chief Justice, the Principal Judge and the Chief Registrar will have to clear individual officers before making submissions to the Chief Justice for the final clearance. In the same vein, funding for foreign travel, which has in the past eaten into the operational budget of the Judiciary will be minimised and savings applied to funding court sessions and operations. The Judicial Studies Institute through the Judicial Training Committee should issue a training timetable for the year, which shall guide all the courts. Training activities outside the Judicial training calendar will be minimised, to discourage incessant movement of judicial officers from courts to training venues.


Institutionalizing Targets for Judicial Officers:

Each judicial officer will have to meet their targets which have been set. For ease of reference, the target for the Supreme Court is 80 appeals and Court of Appeal 600 appeals. The target for a High Court Judge is 300 cases;  a Registrar 400 cases, a Chief Magistrate 600 - this target has been adjusted from the previous target of 800 cases; Magistrate Grade I, 400 cases and new magistrate 300 cases. The Registry of Performance Management, together with the Registry for Magistrates Affairs, will be tasked with generating data for following up the targets. Resources are to be provided for the courts to meet the targets, although I must emphasize that courts should employ cost neutral innovations and timely decision making to deal with most of the business before the courts.


Performance management: 

Performance management is to be rolled out soon in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court and some selected Magistrates Courts in the country. Funding for the roll out will be sourced from the Government of Uganda as Danida funds will not be available until 2017.


Filling Existing Vacancies and Engagement of Acting Judges :

All existing vacancies are to be filled in the service especially in the High Court where there are 16 vacancies, the Court of Appeal 2 vacancies and the Supreme Court 2 vacancies. To this effect, I am grateful to Ministry of Finance for providing ten billion shillings in the next financial year for recruitment of Judges. The Judicial Service Commission has appointed 56 Magistrates Grade I and one Senior Magistrate Grade I.     A Cabinet Memorandum seeking the recruitment of acting judges and retention of retired judges will be presented to Cabinet by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.  My goal is to engage acting Judges to deal with the high number of pending cases in the Court of Appeal and to some extent, the High Court.


Strengthening the Inspectorate of Courts:

The Inspectorate of Courts has been strengthened with the appointment of Justice of Supreme Court as the Chief Inspector and other Sub Inspectors of Courts to, among others, identify and correct inefficiencies in courts; investigate noncompliance with statutory provisions; investigate cases of incompetence by judicial officers to improve the quality of justice and eliminate judicial impunity which is slowly creeping in courts that were hitherto considered safe. The scope of the reformed inspectorate is to be discussed in the Conference.


Public Outreach:

Judges in the Circuits will be expected to have at least two court open days in the year to engage and reach out to the public to bridge the gap between the people and the courts. In my upcountry trips I have noticed that the courts can repair the damaged relationships with the public and improve public confidence in the Judiciary by listening to the people and solving some of their problems as can be seen from the experiences of courts that have close ties with the community. 

Public outreaches will be promoted because it has been established that the public have an important role to play in helping the justice system to identify, priorities, and solve local problems. Actively engaging citizens helps improve public trust in the justice system. Greater trust, in turn, helps people safer, foster laws abiding behavior, and makes members of the public more willing to cooperate in pursuit of justice. We shall use our elaborate network under the Justice Law and Order Sector to engage the public; in particular to root out petty corruption that is undermining public confidence in the Judiciary and weakening the rule of law.


Establishment of Technical support to the Judiciary on Law Reform:

I have also established an office with support from the Uganda Law Reform Commission, which has seconded one of its officers, Mr. Khaukha Andrew as Technical Advisor to the Judiciary on law reform, to be able to follow up on the issues of law reform. Quite often, on occasions like this, we make recommendations on law reform and there is no one to make a follow up on them. In addition we have law reform programmes that we have embraced like plea bargaining and sentencing guidelines that need constant monitoring and feedback. The presence of a Technical Advisor will help us a great deal. 


Knowledge transfer from the USA to Uganda - Memorandum of Understanding between the Judiciary and Pepperdine University:

Rt. Hon Prime Minister and fellow participants, the Judiciary has since 2008 been closely working on a number of initiatives with Pepperdine University in the United States of America. The initiatives include; capacity building in the areas of alternative dispute solution, mediation, plea bargaining, Internship and externship programmes, among others. We shall continue to work with Pepperdine University to expand and develop programmes in the area of access to justice through knowledge transfer from the United States of America to Uganda and developing local initiatives to deal with case backlog.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the Judicial Studies Institute and the Judicial Training Committee together with the administration for arranging the Conference. Arranging and assembling a Conference of this kind can be challenging given the high level nature of the event. 

You have done it well and deserve our deserved gratitude. I wish you a successful Conference. For God and My Country!

It is now my singular honor to invite the Rt. Hon Prime Minister to address and officially open the Judges Conference.


Bart M. Katureebe



Published: January 19, 2016

Published in Latest News
Monday, 25 January 2016 12:33

New Law Year 2016: Speech by the CJ


The Hon the Deputy Chief Justice 

The Hon the Principal Judge

The Hon Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs 

The Hon Attorney General 

His Eminence The Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of Church of Uganda


Your Lordships the Justices and Judges of the Courts of Judicature 

The Director Public Prosecutions

Your Excellences, Members of Diplomatic Corps

Hon Members of Parliament Present

Members of Constitutional Commissions

The Head of Public Service/ Secretary to Cabinet

The Solicitor General

The Secretary to Judiciary 

The Chief Registrar

The President of the Uganda Law Society 

The President of the Uganda Judicial Officers’ Association

Your Worships 

Senior Administrators of the Judiciary 

Members of the Bar

All invited Guests


Fellow Ugandans, Ladies and Gentlemen


The beginning of the New Year marks the end of the previous legal year and signals the beginning of another year for the wheels of justice to continue on their relentless journey of dispensing justice in fulfillment of the mission of the Judiciary, which is: to be an independent, competent, trusted and accountable Judiciary that administers justice to all. 


It is therefore with great joy that I join the previous speakers in wishing you a happy new year.  It is my sincere wish that 2016 will be a great year for all of us in our personal and professional lives. For the courts, I hope it will be a year in which we shall see the fading back of case backlog.


This Law Year is a special year for me because it is my first, since being appointed as Chief Justice of Uganda. I would like to use this occasion to assure the people of Uganda that I shall work with you to improve administration of justice in Uganda through:  Strengthening integrity  in the Judiciary; Developing new products of justice to broaden and deepen access to justice especially for the vulnerable ; Institutionalizing a culture of performance and accountability amongst Judicial Officers; Improving the remuneration and working conditions of Judiciary staff ; Promoting public engagement in the administration of justice;  and, Improving relations between the organs of the State while protecting the independence of the Judiciary.


I shall count on your support and team work to transform the Judiciary.


Last year was a remarkable year for the Judiciary in many respects. The Judiciary scored several milestones. First, H.E The President appointed a Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice after more than eighteen months of waiting. 


Secondly, H.E the President appointed six Justices of the Supreme Court and six Justices of the Court of Appeal.  I hope that H.E will soon appoint the remaining 2 Justices of the Supreme Court, 2 Justices of the Court of Appeal and 16 Judges of the High Court. 


I commend the Judicial Service Commission for appointing 23 Deputy Registrars, 21 Chief Magistrates, 2 Senior Principal Magistrates Grade I , 4 Principal Magistrates Grade I,  1 Senior Magistrate Grade I and 56 Magistrates Grade 1.  


Thirdly, the Judiciary had cordial relations with Parliament and the Executive. The Judiciary had a very useful meeting with Members of Parliament, when Parliament, for the first time in our history, sat in Court Room Number 1 to discuss the Budget of the Judiciary.  This important meeting, was followed by a cordial meeting between H.E The President, and Judges, at State House, Entebbe. Our meeting with the President underscored the oneness of Government without diminishing the trinity of separation of powers and the need for the three organs of the State to be adequately funded and facilitated so as to work for the common good of the Country. We considered the role of the Judiciary in national development and shared some of our challenges with the Executive, which culminated into promises for greater cooperation between the organs of the State, and better funding and facilitation of the Judiciary. It was agreed at this meeting that terms and conditions of service of judicial officers should be improved; that Judges should retire with their full salaries, and that a policy should be developed to retain retired Judges to assist the courts during emergencies. Government also, undertook in a phased manner, to construct staff houses for Judicial Officers at all the stations to ease their accommodation. Government also committed to finding resources to purchase suitable vehicles for Magistrates in a phased manner.  This would go a long way in assisting Magistrates to visit locus in quo in land matters.  The Executive committed to funding the computerization of the Judiciary spreading over a period of 5 years.


Some work has been done on implementing the directives of the meeting. Suffice to mention that funds have been released to double the housing and medical allowances of Judges. A resolution to amend Schedule ‘A’  of the Salaries Allowances of Specified Officers Act will soon be processed to effect the changes. Here, I hope the Ministry of Public Service will move swiftly on this. Allowances of the Lower Bench were increased by 10% of their salaries. However, the increase is inadequate. We need to lobby Government for more resources to inter alia: Increase salaries of the Chief Registrar, Registrars, Chief Magistrates, Magistrates Grade I and Magistrates Grade II that have remained static for more than 5 years; Increase funds to cater for court operations to pay for sessions considering the high rate of crime and litigation.




The mandate of the Judiciary is to administer justice through interpretation of the law and adjudication of cases.  In the Financial Year 2014/15, the the Courts completed 150,052 cases in comparison to 128,000 cases completed in 2013/14 and 109,000 cases completed in 2012/13 Financial Years.


I attribute this impressive performance to the hard work of Judicial Officers and reforms we are implementing to improve the face, soul and body of Justice. I would like therefore, to thank Magistrates Grades II, Magistrates Grade I, Chief Magistrates, Registrars, Judges of the High Court, Justices of the Court of Appeal and Justices of the Supreme Court together with the administration and the entire staff of the Judiciary, Members of the Uganda Law Society, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Police and the Public, for exercising your mandates that enabled this excellent performance. Thank you all for a job well done.  We shall not ask for national medals but we only have to re-double our efforts so that the public get quick and effective justice.  The satisfaction of the Public with our services is the ultimate medal we should seek to achieve.


As we celebrate the huge increase in case disposal, we should not lose sight of 114,512 pending cases in the courts as well as the thousands, of unresolved disputes or unmet legal needs that never reached the courts.  Some of these cases are more than ten years old and represent what others have called the dilemma of access to justice. 


The presence of too many pending cases is an embarrassment to the Judiciary, and a serious affront on the rule of law. I therefore, call upon the JLOS stakeholders especially the Judicial Officers, Members of the Bar – public and private, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Police and members of the public to join hands with the Judiciary to clear the backlog. 


I am aware that besides the human resource constraint, the current Civil and Criminal laws, are inadequate. The law must therefore, be reformed to expand Alternative Dispute Resolution, electronic filing, discourage unnecessary adjournments, introduce filing of Skelton arguments, allow payment of court fees using mobile money platforms, among others. I have, therefore, set up a committee chaired by Justice Tsekooko to, among others, study the proposals made by the Uganda Law Reform Commission to reform civil and criminal laws impacting on the administration of justice. I wish to thank the Chairperson of the Uganda Law Reform Commission and her team for having undertaken a study on these laws.


Resource envelope for the Judiciary comes from both Government of Uganda and Donors (bilateral and the Sector basket funding from JLOS). 


Tthe wage (Salaries) provision has grown from 23.3 billion in Financial Year 2013/14, to 24.876 billion in FY 2014/15 and to 25.876 billion for FY 2015/16. This projection has been maintained in FY 2016/17. The Non -wage Component which caters for the day to day running of the Courts stagnated at 50.9 billion in FY 2013/15 and FY 2014/15. There was a slight increase in FY 2015/16 to cater for Exgratia payments for retired Justices and Pensions. The stagnation of this very important budget component has led to slow implementation of activities. The Government made a supplementary provision of 5 billion in FY 2015/16 which we hope will alongside 3.76 billion for arrears, form part of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) allocation for the FY 2016/17. On the contrary however, the Development component which caters for among others, provision of vehicles, ICT and constructions; has been on a decline from 10.8 billion in FY 2013/14 then to 8.801 billion and to 5.949 billion in FY 2015/16 and the projection for FY 2016/17 is 5.189 billion.

There has been targeted one off funding from UNICEF while support from DANIDA is winding up in June 2016. This may leave the Judiciary with only one source of Funding.

There is need to provide more resources to cater for the non wage requirements such as reduction of case backlog of the Judiciary and the Development Component to provide a robust ICT infrastructure, transport for Supervision and visiting locus in quo and court infrastructure which, has hitherto been a preserve of donor funding. 





In 2015, the Judiciary completed construction of Justice Centers at Ibanda, Mityana, Kiboga, Kibuku, Bulambuli and Judicial Studies Institute. Construction of the High Court at Kabale is almost complete except for installation of electricity and construction of an access road. Construction of the Family Court at Makindye, is almost complete. This year, we shall complete the construction of Justice Centers at Kiruhura, Nwoya, Buyende, and Mitooma. We shall also construct a High Court at Masindi and ten ramps to make our courts accessible to the disabled. The current High Court Building will get a facelift this year with a new roof. Tendering for re-roofing of the High Court Building is underway. The Justice Law and Order Sector is finalizing negotiations with the preferred bidder under JLOS House Project to construct the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal , Headquarters of the Judiciary and  the High Court in Kampala, under the public private partnership framework. I urge the Solicitor General and the Ministry of Finance to expedite the negotiations so that we can have these buildings.




ICT holds the key for unlocking potential to increase performance and eliminate opportunistic corruption in the Judiciary. The Judiciary, therefore, is in the final stages of developing a 5-Year ICT Strategy estimated to cost UGX. 36 billion with an annual requirement of UShs.7.2 billion shillings. This strategy will position the Judiciary to 77% automation from the current 41%. H.E. the President promised to fund the ICT Strategy over a five years period. We shall follow up Government on this promise.


In 2015, the Judiciary installed Information Communication Technology systems to expedite court processes and ease court public access to the court. The Rules Committee has approved a Practice Direction on Audio Visual Evidence to provide for taking of evidence by audio and video link which we shall issue soon. This intervention will make it possible for courts to receive evidence by audio video link from witnesses who cannot physically appear in court due to infancy, old age, distance and cost among others.  In the case of children, the Judiciary, with support from UNICEF, has commenced installation of closed circuit cameras that are connected to TV Monitors in the High Court - Kampala, Gulu, Mbale and Fort Portal to receive evidence from children. Children who are victims of sexual gender based violence shall appear in court by video link to save them secondary victimization which they suffer when they physically appear in court to testify in full view of their alleged molesters. I would like to thank UNICEF for this timely offer, which, again is going to improve access to justice for children in Uganda.


2.1 WI-FI System


The Judiciary has installed WI-FI Systems in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court. Configuration of the System is on-going in order to provide the infrastructure to support a paperless Court Room.


2.2 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) System


The Judiciary is installing CCTV Systems in seven High Court Registries: - Civil, Anti-Corruption, Criminal, Execution and Bailiffs, Land, Family and Commercial and seven Chief Magistrates Court Registries at Entebbe, Makindye, Nabweru, Nakawa, Buganda Road, Mengo, and Law Development Centre Court. The System will be used to monitor our Court Registry procedures with a view of identifying areas for improvement.


2.3 Payments of Court Fees like Bail Fees using Mobile Money


In December 2015, the URA implemented the Mobile Money facility for payment of taxes in Uganda. The Judiciary is in consultation with URA to implement this service for payment of Court fees like Bail deposits. 


2.4 On-Line Filing System


The Judiciary has initiated the analysis and design of an on-line filing system (e-filing) of court documents and cases. When this is finally implemented, advocates will file cases from their chambers without coming to the Court.  This intervention will save time and eliminate unnecessary human contact that may result into unprofessional conduct from the involved parties. 


2.5 E-Judgment Tools Development


Software is being developed to assist in writing Judgments. The template will have fields where evidence is inserted and the system generates related selected authorities via internet facility to analyze and evaluate evidence in accordance with the applicable legal principles. Our IT team and the developer have done about 30% of the work on the software.



2.6 Real-Time Court Recording and Transcription


The Judiciary plans to introduce and convert the current Digital Court Recording and Transcription System to a Real-Time System to facilitate real time production of transcripts required for tasks like judgment writing. Real-Time Court Recording ensures a shorter case processing cycle throughout the court system thereby fighting case backlog. It is proposed to start with the Commercial Court and Appellate Courts before extending it to other Courts.




3.1 Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII) Website


The Judiciary has continued to maintain an online web portal where it provides free legal information to the public. The information provided on this web portal includes inter alia, judgments/rulings from all courts of record of Uganda, Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and bills. The website also provides decisions from CADER, the Tax Appeals Tribunal and the Industrial Court. I note that not many Judicial Officers and legal practitioners are using the website. I, therefore, urge you to actively use the site to enhance the quality of legal representation and judgments.


3.2 Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII) Samsung App


The Judiciary has developed a ULII App accessible by using Samsung phones and tablets. With the help of this facility appearing as an icon on ones’ Samsung mobile devices (phone, tablets), one can quickly access all judgments passed in the Uganda’ Courts of Record (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court). 


3.3   Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII)Website e-Newsletter


Soon we shall be launching an online newsletter where we shall be highlighting precedential court decisions. This will be emailed to subscribing members free of charge. 





In December 2015, I commissioned a taskforce to carry out a National Court Case Count to establish the number of cases in the Judiciary. 


The preliminary report of the case census shows that there are 114,512 cases pending in all the courts. As of December, there were 97 cases in the Supreme Court; 5,844 cases in the Court of Appeal; 35,548 cases in the High Court and 68,115 cases in the Magistrates Courts. We now know the exact number of cases in the courts and where most of the cases are located. With this information, we shall review our case backlog reduction programme focusing more on stemming the growth of case backlog as well as clearing the existing old cases. 


In the interim, I propose to issue a Practice Direction targeting the eradication of cases which are more than 2 years old.




The Judiciary has set targets for all Judicial Officers as part of an elaborate Performance Enhancement System to evaluate judicial officers including Judges by introducing modern methods of management. This system increases level of performance, monitors performance, and informs Best Performers’ Reward Committee for Meritocracy. The targets are:


Supreme Court                       80 cases

Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court     600  cases

High Court Judge                                      300  cases

Registrars                400  cases

Chief Magistrate                                        600  cases

Magistrate Grade 1 of more than


3 years’ standing                                      400 cases


New Magistrates  Grade I of less  than 3 years standing                                300 cases          

Magistrate Grade II                                                                                                 300 cases                


Judicial officers are hitting their targets except in appellate courts that did not have adequate Justices.





The Judiciary is promoting continuous training for judicial officers with mandatory Continuous legal education hours at the Judicial Studies Institute on areas that will better the administration of Justice.


The Judicial Studies Institute will be strengthened to provide continuous professional training to Judicial Officers to sharpen their skills and keep them abreast with new developments in the law. Each Judicial Officer will be required to attend a minimum number of hours of training in a year to keep them competitive, informed and well disposed to deliver first class justice.




On the 24th December 2015, I issued a Practice Direction (Inspectorate of Courts) (Practice) Direction, 2015 to reorganize and strengthen the Inspectorate of Courts to promote good governance in the administration of justice. I have appointed Hon Justice Augustine Nshimye, JSC as Chief Inspector of Courts, to demonstrate the Judiciary’s seriousness to clean up all Courts and deal with complaints of misconduct or incompetency in a timely manner. 


The revamped Inspectorate of Courts will be responsible for promoting good governance, accountability and quality assurance in the Judiciary. It shall carry out its mandate mainly through inspections, investigations and outreach programmes. The new Inspectorate of Courts will inspect all Courts unlike in the past where only Magistrates were inspected.



As the Chair of the Leadership Committee of the Justice Law and Order Sector, I led a delegation last year in October to the USA to strengthen our relationships with Pepperdine University that will see JLOS institutions build capacity in various areas that will aid administration of Justice in Uganda. This relationship dates back from 2008 and provides for capacity building and information sharing in the areas of Plea Bargaining, Sentencing, mediation, short exchange programs and projects with prisons to support rehabilitation and reform of offenders.





Case backlog and allegation of corruption are our two most notable challenges that must be addressed urgently.  



Huge backlogs continued to dent the image of the Courts despite remarkable efforts by the Judges to clear many cases. This was caused by shortage of funds and systematic failures in the courts. Funding to the Judiciary was inadequate to pay for court room technology and sessions for the High Court, Court of Appeal and Chief Magistrates. The presence of an average of 40,000 prisoners per day in prisons and the long pretrial remand for capital offenders was very challenging considering that we could only afford to hold sessions for 1,800 prisoners out of 8,500 capital offenders waiting for trial in the High Court. 


The World Bank notes that:


“When Judiciaries carry a large backlog of cases (they) erode (e) individual property rights, stifle private sector growth, and, in some cases, even violate human rights. Delays affect both the fairness and efficiency of the judicial system; they impede the public’s access to the courts, which, in effect, weakens democracy, the rule of law and ability to enforce human rights.”


Back home, I want to share with you the experience of one Nigerian litigant, who would be in the same position like a typical litigant in Uganda (emphasize). He had this to say about the courts:


A common complaint against the Nigerian law courts is that justice is invariably expensive and tardy. Judges would be mistaken if they thought that this state of affairs was a good reflection of their work. The fault may not be theirs, but when the litigants see some judges and magistrates sit for very brief sessions before retiring …. It is difficult to blame them if they say that such judges and magistrates do not work hard enough. 



He goes on to say that: 


“If justice delayed is justice denied, all judges must show visible concern at the agony of litigants and in particular the inhuman treatment meted out to persons who are compelled to stay in prison for months on end even at time when the law presumes them to be innocent.” 


We recognize that delay of cases hurt everybody and the country at large. As Chief Justice, I will prioritize elimination of case backlog during my tenure.


We shall fight case backlog using a multi-disciplinary approach. It will involve change of attitude, reform of the law, greater use of technology, better training of Judges, Alternative Dispute Resolution and a paradigm change from the current system of justice steeped in bureaucracy, to a business oriented approach to resolving cases. Consequently, the Judiciary will adopt the following initiatives and reforms to improve the administration of justice in Uganda.


1.1 Increasing access points


From the available resources, the Judiciary will establish a High Court circuit at Mukono, Iganga, Mpigi, Rukungiri and Mubende to bring services to the people that have hitherto, endured long distances to access the High Court. The High Court circuit at Nakawa will be restructured and if need be, merged into existing Divisions of the High Court.


1.2 Increase of Magisterial Areas


Magisterial Areas are to be increased from 39 to 81 in a phased manner after the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs gazettes new magisterial areas. Pending the gazzeting, Magisterial Areas with a high case load such as Mengo, Nakawa, Lira, Gulu and Mpigi, will get a second Chief Magistrate. More Magistrates Grade I are to be recruited so that each County has a Magistrate. This intervention will address the phasing out of Magistrate Grade IIs, whose numbers have fallen from 403 to 49 as at 2015 and left most of the  Sub County Courts and the countryside without justice services. The law should be amended to give Local Council Courts power to handle most of the cases that were handled by Magistrates Grade II Courts. In this regard, Local Council Courts should be given power to handle land cases, civil cases of less than one million shillings and all matters of a customary nature. Criminal jurisdiction should, however, remain vested in the formal courts.


1.3 Court of Appeal to hold up country sessions


The Court of Appeal will hold sessions in Mbarara, Mbale, Gulu and Fort Portal to ease pressure on the court at Kampala. Resources, will be found to send Justices on regular upcountry sessions as the country moots the idea of building permanent premises for the Court of Appeal upcountry. I urge Government to increase Justices of Appeal from 15 to at least 32, to support the decentralization and circuiting of the Court of Appeal. 





We recognize that resources are inelastic and that courts may have to innovate to provide more judicial services with available limited number of financial, human and other resources.  In this regards, the Judiciary shall invest resources and time in developing judicial products that deliver justice at the most competitive rates and stem the growth of case backlog. Some of these interventions will include the following:


1. Continuous sitting of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal


The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal that have hitherto sat using the session systems are considering changing the system in favour of continuous hearing of cases now that we have more Justices in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Civil cases, which do not require funds for state brief and elaborate service of court process, are to be benefit from the new changes.


2. Limiting Oral Arguments in Appellate Courts


The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal is considering a proposal to limit oral arguments in Court to save time and resources of the Court. If the proposal is implemented, counsel will be required to file appeals with written submissions including responses. Counsel will be given limited time to provide clarifications to Court during hearing of appeals. A remedy will be found for unrepresented litigants to present their appeals within the constrained timelines.


3. Elimination of Delivering Judgments on Notice


Delivery of judgments on notice encourages a culture of delayed judgments in the Courts. Consequently, the Judiciary is considering a proposal to severely curtail the practice. Court shall now be required to notify the date of the judgment to the parties immediately after the end of hearing a case. Delivery of judgment on notice should only be reserved in exceptional circumstances. 


4. Summary determination of applications


From the recent national court case census, we established that about 60% of the civil cases are applications. Most applications can be decided based on the evidence in the accompanying affidavits and skeleton legal arguments without hearing oral arguments from counsel. For example in  Hong Kong, where Courts have been given power to hear applications in a summary manner a Judge, can dispose of hundreds of applications in a single day. We can also use this method to clear applications which are causing backlog. Consequently, the Civil Procedure Rules are to be amended to give courts power to expeditiously decide applications without oral arguments except if the Justice of the case so requires.


5. Alternative Dispute Resolution


The Judiciary shall continue to roll out Alternative Dispute Resolution to expedite the resolution of cases.  We amended the Rules to make Alternative Dispute Resolution mandatory in civil cases. Plans are underway to extend Alternative Dispute Resolution to the Court of Appeal, where it has the potential of assisting the Court to reduce the huge number of pending cases. In this regard, I call upon advocates who are not very receptive to Alternative Dispute Resolution to embrace it because of the immense advantages it offers over the adversarial system of justice and its ability to shift the decisional power from the Judge to the parties and their counsel.  The rules of procedure are to be amended to provide for payment of costs in the most deserving cases of Alternative Dispute Resolution to fill an existing lacuna in the law. 


6. Plea Bargaining


In the last year , the Judiciary with support from Development Partners and the University of Pepperdine piloted plea bargaining in 11 Circuits of the High Court  as a cost effective measure to reduce case backlog of capital cases in the High Court. In the pilot period, the High Court disposed of 1,500 cases in a very short time. Users and beneficiaries of plea bargaining hailed it for being cheap with a high clearance rate of 95% per session. 


In 2016, the Judiciary shall continue to expand plea bargaining to all the circuits of the High Court and Magistrates Court to provide timely justice to offenders and reduce on pretrial remand for capital offenders, who do not have adequate protection like suspects whose cases are not yet scheduled for hearing. The Rules Committee has approved a Practice Direction on Plea Bargaining, that I shall issue soon.


7. Expansion of Small Claims Procedure


The Small claims procedure courts will be rolled out to all Magisterial Areas in 2016. The Small Claims Procedure is an innovation adopted by the Ugandan Judiciary to handle Civil Claims below ten million shillings. It was initially piloted in six Chief Magistrates’ Courts and has meanwhile been rolled out to twenty six Chief Magistrates’ Courts namely; Mengo, Makindye, Nabweru, Nakawa, Mbarara, Mbale, Masaka, Jinja, Lira, Kabale, Arua, Mukono, Nakasongola, Bushenyi, Entebbe, Luwero, Kitgum, Iganga, Fort Portal, Soroti, Masindi, Mpigi, Gulu, Busia, Kasese and Hoima. 





I am concerned about the persistent complaints of both real and perceived corruption in the courts. Complaints of corruption are rife in the lower courts. The High Court and appellate courts feature but with low frequencies. While most cases of corruption are unsubstantiated, I have said before that corruption has no place in the Judiciary because it short changes the vulnerable, perverts the cause of justice, perpetuates conflicts in society undermines civilized ways of resolving disputes and increases transaction costs for business. 


We in the Judiciary are determined to eradicate corruption in the chain of justice by opening up the judicial process and taking a zero tolerance policy towards the corrupt. I have since assuming office established hotlines on which the public can report cases of mal administration of justice. I have taken up complaints of corruption leveled against judges by investigating such complaints and taking action where necessary. I welcome any person who has a complaint of corruption against any judicial officer or court staff to report to me in confidence and investigations will start, first internally, and where necessary by the JSC. But at all times the officer accused must be given an opportunity to respond to allegations against him/her.  Even in the pursuit of the corrupt, we must never lose sight of the basic principles of fairness.


We shall continue to work with the Judicial Service Commission and the Inspectorate of Government with the active support of the public to rid the Judiciary of both perceived and real corruption. I encourage members of the public to cut off the supply side of corruption by stopping or rejecting giving bribes for services. Likewise, judicial officers and staff, who provide the demand side of corruption, are warned and informed that stern action will be taken against them.


Before I take leave of this matter, I wish to appeal to litigants, advocates and the public to refrain from making unsubstantiated and malicious complaints against judicial officers. Unfair complaints against judicial officers are a threat to judicial independence because some judicial officers may fear to make decisions against certain litigants or lawyers for fear of enlisting malicious complaints. Aggrieved parties should only make complaints where judicial officers have violated the Judicial Code of Conduct or abused office. Other complaints going to the merit of the decision, should be dealt with through appeals.


Appeal to Government


I urge the Minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs and the Attorney General to fast track the tabling of the Administration of Justice Bill, which seeks to provide for the administration of the Judiciary, and the Legal Aid Bill, that makes provision for legal representation of the indigent. These two Bills should be fast tracked to improve efficiency in adjudication.




In conclusion, 2016, will be a great year for the Judiciary as it endeavors to deliver justice to all.  It is a year that the Judiciary should apply:


“Business concepts of efficiency and project management to case processing, be reinforced by change of attitude and work methods for increased productivity in the Judiciary.


I thank you for listening to me.


It is now my pleasure to declare the New Law Year officially open.


For God and My Country!




Bart M Katureebe



Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 11:54

Judiciary Appoints Chief Inspector of Courts


The Hon. JSC. Augustine Sebuturo Nshimye has been appointed as the Chief Inspector of Courts for the Judiciary with effect from 13th January 2016. This is a positive step in the promotion of accountability within the Judiciary and the JLOS Sector as a whole. His Lordship shall be responsible for carrying out the functions of the Inspectorate of Courts in line with the Constitution (Inspectorate of Courts)(Practice Directive) 2015. This position mandates his Lordship to receive, investigate and evaluate complaints from the public against judicial officials.

Previously, the functions of the Inspectorate of Courts were carried out by a Registrar of the High Court. By virtue of the Registrar’s position in the judicial staff hierarchy, it was difficult to inspect and take decisive action against senior judicial officers at levels above Registrar; thus against judges of the High Court, the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court. The appointment of a justice of the Supreme Court therefore rightful places the Inspectorate of Courts within the top echelon of the judicial structure.

The Judiciary has for long grappled with challenges associated with accountability and perceived corruption. This appointment of a senior judicial officer is poised to turn around a disturbing trend of the Judiciary where in the recent years it has been pitted as one of the most corrupt public institutions in Uganda. 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.

The Justice, Law and Order  Sector congratulates his Lordship and welcomes this appointment as a strategic re-enforcement of the sector efforts to promote accountability, fight corruption and ensure optimal staff productivity. The appointment of Justice Nshimye comes at a time when the Judiciary is resolute on zero tolerance for corruption and committed to subjecting any officer found culpable to both administrative and criminal sanctions. The Judiciary has previously also put up three SMS hotlines for the public to report acts of corruption and unprofessional conduct by its staff; 0776 709100, 0703 707085  and 0794 702085.


By Musa Modoi | Published: January 14, 2016

Published in Latest News
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 07:25

Judiciary Completes File Census Exercise


More than 20,000 cases are pending determination before courts throughout the country. These include 97 cases at the Supreme Court, according to results of the just concluded national case census This follows the recent file census carried out December 10 - 11, 2015 through the country where the Judiciary sought to take stock of all pending cases. This according to Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, the head of the National Case Census, will enable the Judiciary establish backlog cases in the court system for action on them.

Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, during a press briefing held at the commercial court following the complete of the two day exercise, said a total of 5,844 cases are pending before the Court of Appeal, 871 cases at the Kampala High Court Criminal Division while 97 cases are pending at the Supreme Court.He said the pending cases at Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court comprise both criminal and civil.


Overview of census findings

In Kampala area, a total of 256 cases are pending at the Anti-Corruption Court, Family Division (2,425), Civil Division (1,388), Land Division (3,979), Law Development Centre Magistrates Court (400), Buganda Road Magistrates Court (592), Mwanga II Court (434), Mengo Magistrates Court (2,187) while Kampala Capital City Authority Court has 320 cases. Physical case files pending before the High Court in Fort Portal before one judge are 1,836 while 4,438 case files are pending before the magistrate courts, and 2,153 cases pending at Mbarara High Court before two judges and another 944 before the magistrates' courts

Justice Adonyo promised that a comprehensive report will be released in February 2016 to form a basis for the Judiciary to plan effective distribution of resources for case management. "The exercise has been an informative experience that is helping the Judiciary management as well as the respective courts to weed out non-existent cases. We shall use the findings from the census to inform the resource allocation in the respective courts," Justice Adonyo said.


By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: December 15, 2015

Published in Latest News


President Yoweri Museveni has said there is no serious dialogue between the three arms of government; the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, to talk about strategy and ideology of the country. “We only talk about sharing resources which is not enough. We must understand, what does the State want to do? There s a weakness of harmony and orientation of strategy,” he said.

The President was yesterday speaking to over 80 judges whom he hosted at State House in Entebbe. Responding to a presentation by the Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe, on the transformation of the Judiciary for National Development, President Museveni cited UPE and USE that were initiated by government following a steady tax collection regime. “We thought having these children in school was unavoidable. When the tax collection improved from 2.8billion in 1986 to 728billion in 1997, we started UPE. The number of children in school jumped from the initial 2.5million to 8.8million. The Problem is that with policies and prioritization, the judiciary is not involved that is why they don’t get the logic and factors taken into account,” he said.

The President said with the tax collection now at 12000billion (12trillion), government has invested in infrastructure development in the education, health, roads and electricity sectors. “Public service increased teachers from 80,000 to 160,000 with increased classrooms. There was load shedding which has stopped. We were spending very little of our money on infrastructure and depended on donors,” he said.

The President said government now spends Shs 3000bn on roads, 1700bn on electricity and quite a bit on the army. President Museveni said that government has put more efforts in the construction of roads in all parts of the country using locally generated resources. He said the roads would have a big impact on the national economy because they would serve for a long time and provide an opportunity to address other important sectors that need to be funded.

“We spend quite a bit on the army to be able to build a strong army although soldiers get low wages. Amin soldiers were well paid but had no weapons. But we said weapons first. We brought peace cheaply with most of our soldiers sleeping in Maama ingia pole. If we did not do this, we would have our country run by the United Nations,” he said, adding that peace is enabling Uganda to get more money. “I can speak authoritatively that we have one institution that has given you exemplary service cheaply. It’s not a story, it’s not something I read in a book, I have it here on good record,” he said.

The President assured the Judges of state security after their retirement and said judicial officers should retire with 100% of their normal service benefits. He said this is a cost effective way of addressing the welfare of the judicial officers. He urged them to improvise in line with housing for the courts and proposed institutional housing for judicial service officers.

President Museveni said that the NRM Government was fully committed to providing vehicles for all judges and Magistrates in the country and proposed that they establish a SACCO that government can facilitate. He said that the government would soon fund medical check-up for them in health facilities of their choice within the country.

Museveni said government will support the Shs 36bn five year ICT strategic plan to roll out a robust case management system providing for E-filing to reduce timelines and loss of files.  The Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, commended President Museveni for eliminating extra Judicial killings in the country. He however, pointed out that the judiciary has rental arrears of 3bn and that the supreme court may be up for eviction if nothing is done. Katureebe said with a 46% growth in the budget from Shs63bn in 2012/13 to Shs92bn in 2014/15, performance also increased by 49% from 102,000 cases in 2010/11 to 152,000 cases disposed of in 2014/15. 


Source: State House | September 3. 2015

Published in Latest News


President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Hon. Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe  as the new Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda. In a statement released by State House on March 5 2015, His Excellency the President also appointed Justice Stephen Kavuma as the Deputy Chief Justice. Justice Katurebe is a judge of the Supreme Court of Uganda while Justice Kavuma who has been the Ag. Chief Justice is a judge of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Katurebe , 64 who has previously served as the Attorney General, will by virtue of his new appointment become the Chairperson of the JLOS Leadership Commitee.




By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: March 5, 2015

Published in Latest News
Friday, 21 June 2013 11:54

New Judges Sworn in


STATE HOUSE - President Museveni on June 20, 2013 presided over the swearing-in of a record 25 new judges during a colorful ceremony at State House Entebbe. This makes him the first President to appoint such a number of judges at once anywhere in the world. President Museveni said the judges have a challenge to deliver services to the people through coordination and partnership with the Police who do the investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who bring in the cases.

Published in Archived News
Friday, 24 May 2013 09:56

Sentencing Guidelines Committee

The Chief Justice on April 26, 2013 signed the Sentencing Guidelines into law and also constituted a sentencing guidelines committee. The mandate of this committee is to make recommendations to the Chief Justice for development of guidelines for other offenses, reviewing the existing guidelines, conduct public awareness on sentencing, advise on the use of the guidelines, establish a research, monitoring and development program on sentences and their effectiveness and monitor the implementation of the guidelines.

The Committee is chaired by the Hon. the Principal Judge and comprising of the following:

• A Justice of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively
• The head of the criminal division of the high Court
• Attorney General or his or her representative
• The Director public prosecutions or his or her representative
• The Inspector General of police or his or her representative
• A representative of the Uganda Law reform Commission
• A representative of the Justice Law and Order Sector
• The Commissioner General of prisons or his or her representative
• A representative from the National Community Service Committee
• A Magistrate appointed by the Uganda Judicial Officer's Association and three members of the public appointed by the Chief Justice.

The Committee is supported by a sentencing secretariat (a research arm of the Sentencing Committee) headed by Mr. Khaukha Andrew of the Uganda Law Reform Commission.

The guidelines will be published in the Gazette on the 24th of May 2013 and will be launched by the Hon the Chief Justice on the 6th of June 2013.


DOWNLOAD the Sentencing Guidelines (456.51 kB)


By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Published: May 24 2013


Published in Archived News
Monday, 13 May 2013 07:10

President names new Judges


KAMPALA -- President Yoweri Museveni has named 28 new judges to fill vacant positions in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.The appointments are subject to parliamentary approval and the names have been forwarded to the Speaker of Parliament for vetting.The appointments to the Court of Appeal include the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Butera, Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa (Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academics at Makerere University) and Kenneth Kakuru, a human rights lawyer.

Published in Archived News

KAMPALA-- On 26th April 2013, the Hon. The Chief Justice constituted a task force chaired by Hon. Justice Y Bamwine – The Principal Judge, to review the draft law on plea-bargaining.

The members of the task force are:

  1. Justice L Gidudu – Judiciary
  2. Ms. Harriet Lwabi – Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
  3. Mr. H P Adonyo - Judiciary
  4. Mr. P W Gadenya – JLOS Secretariat
  5. Mr. Okoth Ochola – Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP)
  6. Mr. Bruce Kyerere – Uganda Law Society
  7. Ms. Joan Kagezi – International War Crimes Division of the High Court
  8. Mr. Andrew Khaukha- Uganda Law Reform Commission (Secretary)


The Task force is expected to complete its work by 26th July 2013.


By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Published: April 29, 2013




Reprinting or republication of this article on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to the JLOS Website, at the beginning or end of the report:

"Draft Law on Plea Bargaining to be Reviewed" is republished with permission of the Justice, Law and Order Sector."

Published in Archived News
Page 6 of 7