Understanding Court Processes

Omnibus Petition

Omnis comes from a Latin word “for all”.

An omnibus petition is when smaller motions are all filed together in one single document.

An omnibus petition is similar to consolidation of suits provided for by order 11 rule 1 of the civil procedure rules. It provides that where two or more suits are pending in the same court in which similar questions of law or fact are involved the suits may be consolidated either upon the application of the parties or at the court’s own motion and its discretion.

The purpose for consolidation of suits is to save time, costs and effort to make the conduct of several actions more convenient by treating them as one action. Consolidation is ordered for meeting the ends of justice as it saves the parties from multiplicity of proceedings, delay and expenses and this was stated in case of Ababiku Jesca v Eriyo Jesca all arising from election petition No. 0002 of 2011.

However to differentiate an omnibus petition and consolidation of suits, an omnibus petition the smaller motions added in one single file are matters of the law and the intent of such a petition is to ascertain whether or not certain provisions of the law were violated. In short all the violations are petitioned in one single petition.  Also an example of an omnibus petition can be in family law where one petitions for custody and within the same petition there is a petition for guardianship and other family related issues yet all these petitions can be done separately but to prevent time wasting and resources all is put in one petition. Similarly since this petition is on media freedoms all the provisions against the media freedoms can be put in one petition for the matter to be resolved at once.

Has an omnibus petition been done in Uganda before?

Yes it has, as I have stated above that most family matters do omnibus petitions because most of the cases therein have guardianship, maintenance and custody hence the petitions are generally omnibus in that regard. Therefore in Uganda a lot of smaller motions can be put in one document.

NOTE; The omnibus petition as regards to media freedoms is necessary for helping in justice and for the matters to be interpreted by court since most of the cases have not been cause listed, making an omnibus petition is the best option in order to help the judges cause list at once since they rarely sit and this also helps for all the issues stated therein to be tried at once even those as old as 2011.