Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 provides that any person appearing before any administrative official or body has a right to be treated justly and fairly and shall have a right to apply to a court of law in respect of any administrative decision taken against him/her.
Administrative decisions are those initial decisions that are made by public bodies, government entities, and statutory bodies. When arriving at administrative decisions, the principles of natural justice which entail a right to fair hearing and rule against bias have to be applied. The principles of natural justice were first discussed in Ridge V Baldwin and others (1963) ALL ER 66.
The person appearing before an administrative body should be accorded a fair hearing. This entails informing the defendant about the case against him/her before trial, allowing one ample time to prepare his or her defence. Additionally, the defendant should be allowed to have legal representation if they can afford.
The trial should also be expeditious. It should not be too long to delay justice and neither should it be too short to deny someone a fair hearing. The procedure should be seen to be efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.
In regards to the rule against bias; reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that everyone on the decision making panel is impartial. If there is any reason for one to believe that they will not be impartial, they can excuse themselves from the panel. A decision should then be taken on the merits of the case and no other factors.
It is also important to ensure that the decision making body is not acting ultravires. It should have the mandate and power to make the decision taken.
These factors contribute to having a just and fair treatment in administrative decisions.
An individual who is aggrieved by a decision made by an administrative body has a right to apply to court for Judicial Review under section 98 of the Civil Procedure Act Cap 71. The court grants orders of certiorari which is quashing the decision of the administrative body, mandamus which is an order compelling the Respondent to do something and order of prohibition which is stopping the Respondent from acting on something. These orders were discussed in Oyaro John Owinyi V Kitgum Municipal Council MC No.007 of 2018.