Miscellaneous Case No.204 Of 2017, Katungi V Attorney General Before Lady Justice H. Wolayo, Lady Justice Mugambe Lydia, Mr. Justice Ssekaana Musa
Judgment on 25thJanuary 2019
This application was brought under Sections 8(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of the Advocates (Amendment) Act No. 27 of 2002, Section 33 of the Judicature Act, Section 98 of the Civil Procedure Act, and Order 52 rules 1 and 3 of the Civil Procedure Rulesseeking the following orders:
That a mandatory additional one year of supervised practice be set aside because it is un reasonable, unjust, unfair, illegal, irrational and made in bad faith. Further that a declaration that the applicant has satisfied all the statutory requirements for the issuance of a certificate of eligibility by the Law Council to enable him enroll as an advocate of the High Court of Uganda. Also issue a certificate of eligibility to enroll, general damages and costs of the application.
The applicant did a law course and successfully obtained a law degree from Uganda Christian University and did the postgraduate diploma in legal practice from the Law School of Kenya after which he did the supervised practice and was enrolled to the Kenya Bar. He applied to the Law council of Uganda to enroll as the advocate of the High Court of Uganda which application was turned down and referred to undertake a mandatory supervised practice at the Justice centers. The respondent through the affidavit of Remy Kasule and Margaret Apiny who are the chairperson and secretary Law council respectively contended that the applicant ought to have undertaken the supervised practice at the justice centers and his decision to undertake the practice at Taremwa and Co. advocates was not approved by the council.
The major issue for determination according to court would be better formulated as; Whether section 8(8)(b)(ii) and 8(10) of the Advocates (Amendment) Actare applicable to the Applicant in determination of whether he qualifies to be issued with a certificate of eligibility. The Applicant submitted that the purpose of the Advocates (Amendment) Act 27 of 2002was to make it easier to access the bar course as the long title to the Act provides. That a Ugandan who has obtained a law degree from Uganda but opts to study in another law school in a common law jurisdiction, and is enrolled in that jurisdiction, would be entitled to be enrolled on the same grounds as a Ugandan who obtained qualification from Uganda and qualified from Law Development Centre provided he complies with section 8(8) (a) of the Advocates (Amendment) Act 2002. The category that falls in 8(8)(b)(ii) in our considered opinion are persons who are not qualified with law degrees but rather enrolled as legal practitioners by virtue of their legal related work experience such as clerks, paralegals and police officers. That in harmonizing the practice of the trade across the region, it would call for the harmonization of sectors including the recognition of the documents obtained from the partner states of the East African community. That a person who obtains a law degree from Uganda but choses to do their post graduate diploma from other jurisdictions that has a common law legal system should not be subjected to a mandatory supervised practice after fulfilling the requirements of practicing as a member of that bar. Further that the requirement to have supervised practice does not apply to law degree holders but other people like police officers and paralegals but not lawyers.