The Chief Justice of Uganda Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has warned judicial officers to desist from issuing exorbitant awards to litigants.
Dollo made remarks while presiding over the Judiciary’s end-of-year party held at the Judiciary Headquarters in Kampala, where over ten Judicial Officers at different levels were recognized with gifts and accolades having reached their respective mandatory retirement ages.
Among those who have been retired is Supreme Court Justice Paul Mugamba, Constitutional Court/Court of Appeal Justice Remmy Kasule and four High Court Judges David Kigozi Wangutusi, Wilson Kwesiga, Wilson Musene and Flavia Anglin Senoga, Registrar Opifeni Anguandia, Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise, and Grade Two Magistrates Henry Luwaga and Gertrude Najjuko.
According to the Chief Justice, he recently presided over a case where a lawyer was asked to pay five million shillings as instructions fees to represent a client in a small application. But the Chief Justice indicates that when the litigants hear such exorbitant awards, it will discourage people from seeking justice.
Dollo said that when he was still a practicing Advocate, he remembers having been given sh50 Million as instructions fees and later awarded costs of about sh70 Million.
He said that Judicial officers need to issue awards matched to the value of the case.
The Chief Justice also reiterated the need to amend laws to have the retirement age of the Judicial officers reviewed.
Justice David Wangututsi speaking on behalf of the retirees appealed to the judicial officers who haven’t yet clocked the mandatory retirement age to make sure they dispense justice to underprivileged people.
About six years ago, the Parliament of Uganda then presided over by the former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga threw out the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2015 that sought to amend the retirement ages of judicial officers after it had faced stiff resistance from the Members of Parliament.