October 03, 2023

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Chief Justice Emeritus Benjamin Odoki Chief Justice Emeritus Benjamin Odoki


JLOS was launched in 1999 initially with 10 (ten) public institutions focused on improving access to justice for all persons. This was done through coordinated and evidence based sector wide formulation, planning and resource application.  In its implementation, JLOS started off with a Strategic Investment Plan (SIP FY 2001/02 – 2005/6). This was followed by the Second Strategic Investment Plan (SIP II FY 2006/07 –2011/12) and the third Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III FY 2012/13 –2016/17). SIP III was largely focused on promotion of the rule of law by increasing public confidence and trust in the justice system as well as user satisfaction with the services offered by the Sector.


Sector mandate and composition 

The Justice Law and Order Sector is a sector wide approach adopted by Government of Uganda bringing together 18 institutions with closely linked mandates of administering justice and maintaining law and order as well as the promotion and protection of human rights. The Sector focuses on a holistic approach to improving access to and administration of justice through a sector wide approach to planning, budgeting, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation. 


SIP I – Rebuilding and re-tooling the Sector Institutions

The first Strategic Plan (SIP I) focused on two areas – criminal justice, building on the Chain-linked Initiative and commercial justice under the Commercial Justice Reform Programme (CJRP). The CJRP sought to reform the laws, institutional and human resource capacities and to strengthen the environment for doing business. SIP I, as the initial Sector plan was strongly premised on the need to rebuild and retool institution and build the capacity of staff. It was geared at reviving the justice sector that had been run down following the instability leading up to 1986.


SIP II – Stabilisation Phase

SIP II that ran from 2006/07 to 2011/12 was geared at stabilising institutional growth and consolidating the gains made under the first planning framework and enhancing impact. It bore a heightened focus on poor and marginalised groups and was anchored in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), which was the overarching framework for Uganda’s growth and development and the Medium-Term Competitiveness Strategy (MTCS). The Sector, at this point, recognised the need to address those challenges that impacted on the cost of doing business and concerns of the poor and marginalised. These challenges include corruption, delay in disposal of land and family cases, and addressing cross-cutting challenges such as protecting the environment, promoting gender equity and supporting efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS. SIPII therefore built on the lessons of SIP I and prioritised the promotion of rule of law and due process, fostering of a culture of human rights, enhancing access to justice, especially for the poor and marginalised, reducing crime and improving safety and security and contributing to economic development.

The expanded focus on criminal, commercial, land and family justice, built on the SIP I but went on to incorporate the findings of the Integrated Study on Land and Family Justice. It further increased the number of JLOS institutions to 11 with the addition of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and four (4) institutions were added as allied institutions.

a) The key gains under the first two strategic plans laid the foundation for the next planning framework. These included:

b) Reduction in length of stay on remand from an average of 24 months to 15 months for serious offences;

c) Increased efficiency in the Commercial Court as evidenced in case throughput and application of ADR;

d) Establishment of CADER and the Tax Appeals Tribunal;

e) Reform of 40 commercial laws and integration of regulatory best practices in policy formulation and practice;

f) Enhanced capacity of the legal profession in commercial disputes, including establishment of a functional legal resource centre at the Uganda Law Society.


SIP III – Consolidating the gains

The SIP III moved the Sector from brick and mortar investments to deepen and broaden access to JLOS services through targeted interventions. The overall focus of the Sector was expanded to include the following: Land justice; Family justice; Transitional justice;Prevention of age and gender based violence; Worker’s rights.

In addition, the growing concerns of accountability and human rights observance were given special attention.

Under SIP III, the Sector membership also expanded to 17 institutions, with the inclusion of Law Development Centre, Uganda Law Society, Tax Appeals Tribunal and CADER as full Sector members and the addition of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau as a newly created institution.




 Under SIPIII public confidence in JLOS institutions increased significantly from the baseline average of 26% in 2012 to 48% in 2016. Public engagement with JLOS institutions and use of JLOS services grew three fold on the average compared to the baselines. 

For those persons that have accessed JLOS services the level of satisfaction has increased from the average baseline position of 59%  in 2012 to 72% in 2016. The index of judicial independence grew by 22% from 2.8 in 2014/15 to 3.41 in 2016, implying that judicial processes in Uganda have become more independent. The country’s judicial independence ranking too has improved from position 128 in 2012 to 91 in 2016 according the Global Competitiveness Report, 2016.

As a result of the interventions in legal reform and other innovations, Uganda moved from position 139 in 2012 to 122 in 2015/16 in the doing business index. 

The Sector is now functionally present in 82% of the districts compared to 75% functional presence in 2014/15. Also the number of districts with a complete chain of infrastructure for frontline JLOS services increased from 35% in 2012 to 59.8% in 2015/16. 

The average length of stay on remand reduced from 23 months in 2012 to 10.4 months for capital offenders and case backlog reduced from 39% in 2012 to 25% in 2016.  Use of ADR recorded a resounding success with a 55% success rate compared to 22% in 2012 arising out of investments in training and advocacy. 

The crime rate reduced from 314 per 100,000 in 2012 to 296 per 100,000 in 2016. 

In terms of human rights observance, the number of reported human rights violations by JLOS agencies reduced by 41% during the reporting period. This is partly due to the adoption of a human rights culture and accountability and sensitisation of police and prisons that have always featured high in terms of human rights violations.



JLOS is currently implementing the 5th Strategic Development Plan (2017 - 2020). DOWNLOAD SDP IV



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Last modified on Thursday, 06 July 2023 16:27