THE PRINCIPAL JUDGE HON. JUSTICE DR. FLAVIAN ZEIJA (PHD)
(Delivered by Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana)
THE LAUNCH OF NEW RULES AND PRACTICE DIRECTIONS BY THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE
THE HIGH COURT GROUNDS 27TH JULY, 2022
My Lord, The Hon. The Chief Justice
My Lords, The Justices of the Supreme Court Present,
My Lords, The Justices of the Court of Appeal Present,
My Lords, The Judges of the High Court Present,
Your Worship, the Chief Registrar,
Your Worships present,
The Director, First Parliamentary Council,
The Country Director, IDLO,
Attorneys from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs present,
Prosecutors from the Office of the ODPP present,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I welcome you all to this ceremony for the launch of the new Court Rules of procedure.
My Lord, the Honourable the Chief Justice, on my behalf as Chairperson of the Judiciary Law Reform Committee, and on behalf of the members of the Committee, I take
this opportunity to thank you for entrusting us with the responsibility to make proposals that informed the development of the four sets of new Court Rules of Procedure that you will be launching today.
My Lord, The Hon. Chief Justice, as a way of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of the mandate you entrusted the Committee with, the Committee came up with subcommittees. Therefore, the new Rules of Procedure were developed through a series of meetings which were held by the Committee and discussed in detail, the proposals put forward by the various Sub-committees. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings were held both in-person and online.
In the discharge of its mandate, the Committee engaged various consultants as well as the stakeholders in the administration of justice, namely; the Uganda Law Society, Attorneys from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Office of the DPP, Civil Society Organizations, distinguished law scholars, distinguished Advocates and Court Bailiffs.
My Lord, the Chief Justice and distinguished guests, we also held a joint retreat of the Rules Committee and Judiciary Law Reform Committee to discuss the proposals. These proposals were approved by the Rules Committee, and were consequently forwarded to the Office of the First Parliamentary Council, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, for drafting. The new
Court Rules of Procedure have therefore, gone through a robust consultation process.
My Lord, the Chief Justice, allow me to extend my appreciation to the International Development Law Organization for the support the organization has rendered during the development of these Rules in terms of financing the consultative meetings and printing costs of 1000 copies of the new Rules.
My Lord, The Hon. Chief Justice, I wish to inform to you that we are continuing to work with the International Development Law Organization. Currently, we are collaborating with them to deliver a training programme for Court Rules of Procedure which were launched in the year 2019. We are also in discussions with them to support the training of stakeholders in the application of the Rules being launched today. The proposed training is intended to promote awareness of the new Rules with a view of enabling their expedient implementation.
A training course outline has been developed for the 2019 Rules and soon, with support from IDLO, nationwide trainings will commence. The trainings will be facilitated by retired Judges who were involved in the development of those Rules.
My Lord, The Chief Justice, allow me to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the following distinguished current and formers members of the Judiciary Law Reform Committee;
- Hon. Justice Mike Chibita
- Hon. Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire
- Hon. Justice F.M.S Engonda-Ntende
- Hon. Justice Stephen Musota
- Hon. Justice Christopher Madrama
- Hon. Justice Eudes Keitirima
- Hon. Justice Patricia Basaza Waswa
- Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana
- Hon. Justice Samuel Emokor (Secretary to the Committee)
- Rtd. Justice D.K. Wangutusi
- Dr. Pius Bigirimana (PhD)
- H/W Sarah Langa Siu
- President Uganda Law Society
- Mr. Francis Gimara
- Director, First Parliamentary Council
- H/W Patricia Amoko
- Professor Andrew Khaukha (Lead Researcher and Resource Person)
Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana delivering the speech on behalf of the principle Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija (Phd)
These members of the Judiciary Law Reform Committee have worked exceptionally hard in putting forward proposals and ensuring that these Rules are finalized. My Lord, I thank you for giving the Committee a very committed and excellently gifted hardworking team.
And to the members of the Judiciary Law Reform Committee, I say thank you for your dedication and
sacrifices you made over the last couple of years to make this day possible. However, as we celebrate the launch of the new Rules, allow me to remind you that we still have much more to accomplish.
Therefore, let me take this opportunity to request the same energy and commitment towards finalization of the following proposals:
- Review of the Court of Appeal Rules.
- Practice Direction on Establishment of the Infrastructure and Environment Division of the High Court.
- Rules on Vexatious Litigation
- Child Friendly Procedures
- Sentencing guidelines, among others.
My lord, the Hon. Chief Justice, at my last quarterly meeting with Heads of High Court Divisions and Circuits, to review performance of the High Court held on June 27, 2022, at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo, among the key resolutions was for the judiciary to commission a study on alternative dispute resolution from the perspective of traditional justice mechanisms. The resident Judges of Lira and Gulu High Court Circuits shared best practices in this regard. I request you my Lord, to consider assigning this committee to look into this area.
As I conclude, My Lord, The Chief Justice, the issue of bail and refund of bail money has been and remains very
critical among Court users in this country. Let me emphasize the need to have an abridged version of the rules in simple English for the common person to understand. As judiciary we should also consider having such critical Rules translated into the common local languages for our common people to understand them in their own languages. In so doing, we shall maximize the benefits of these Rules and increase public confidence in the judicial system.
Thank you my Lord the Honourable the Chief Justice, and distinguished guests for listening to me.
Flavian Zeija (PhD)