He reveals that before the end of next year, two Judges from the Supreme Court shall retire; the Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki is retiring, while they are still adjusting to the retirement of the Deputy Chief Justice Lady Justice Leticia Mukasa-Kigonyogo that happened in September 2010.
The failure by government to recruit more judges on the bench is straining the justice system in Uganda.
James Sebugenyi, the President Uganda Law society, says the Judiciary is overwhelmed by the number of court cases they have to handle.
Sebugenyi states that each Judge currently has a docket of 500 pending cases. He calls on government and the judicial service commission to recruit new judges so as to dispose off backlog and delay of cases is handled.
He reveals that before the end of next year, two Judges from the Supreme Court shall retire, the Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki is retiring, while they are still adjusting to the retirement of the Deputy Chief Justice Lady Justice Leticia Mukasa-Kigonyogo that happened in September 2010.
Sebugenyi urges the public to understand that this is why lawyers fail to provide a specific time frame within which a case can be resolved due to the judicial system.
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Erias Kisauzi, the judicial spokesperson, says the gaps in the judiciary are a public secret. Kisauzi intimates that in the last amendment made in May 2011 the Supreme Court judges were raised to 11 but currently only has seven.
At the court of Appeal there is need for 15 Judges but only six are working. He adds that at the High court there are 45 Judges yet the number was amended and raised to 50. However, they have made submissions to the judicial service commission to increase High Court Judges to more than eighty.
The Law Society President also notes that the inadequate number of judges is coupled with the low morale of judicial officers due to poor remuneration. Sebugenyi says in the country’s constitutional Hierarchy the Chief Justice is number five, but he’s little salary of five million shillings is way too little.
He suggests that a Chief Justice should earn 40 million shillings, a High Court Judge 20 million, and Court of Appeal and Supreme Court Judges 35 million shillings.
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The open day at the law society today is focusing on young lawyers to address among others the ethics of lawyers who are bringing the profession into disrepute. Sebugenyi says this will be handled by fellow peers in the profession and mentioned five cases whose names he could not reveal.
The other challenge the law society faces is that there a many lawyers being churned out by the Law Development Centre and Universities yet there are no jobs.
Sebugenyi adds that their role to castigate and critique government on human rights, rule of law, corruption and bad governance, has earned them a negative perception especially from the government.
uganda law society president james sebugenyi
judicial gap weighs down on lawyers
erias kisauzi spokesperson judiciary
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uganda law society