The School of Law organized a freshers’ orientation meeting on Wednesday 2nd February, 2022 to create a sense of belonging among the new students at the School.
Established in 1968, initially as a Department of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the School was later in 1971 given independence as a Faculty and when Makerere University adopted the collegiate system, it became a semi-autonomous college. According to the Principal Prof. Christopher Mbazira, until recently, the School occupied special status as the only School of Law at a public university, “we now have Gulu as the second and the other schools are private” he said.
The School of Law was the only lawyer-training facility in Uganda since its founding in 1968 until 2000 when other universities established faculties of law. The school has five teaching departments, in addition to the units that engage in research like the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), doing research and advocacy, in the area of human rights; and the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC). The Refugee Law Project addresses issues of refugees and immigration; Law, Gender and Sexuality research project addresses sexuality issues; the Disability Law and Rights Centre (DLRC) promotes and protects disability rights; as well as many other smaller research projects.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Ronald Naluwairo, the Deputy Principal, School of Law, welcomed the fresh men and women to the school. “We are here to inspire you and give you guidance on the basics and key things to excel in your academic career”, he said.
Dr. Naluwairo introduced to students the rigorous nature of the the Bachelors of Law Programme, and encouraged them to have competence as a minimum requirement for the programme. The Deputy Principal also promised students a session where the School Registrar will introduce the rules and regulations governing the programme in detail. He called upon the fresh men and women to always consult the registrars in instances where the rules seemed unclear.
In his remarks, Prof. Mbazira congratulated the students upon passing the pre-entry exams and joining the group of special people with special alumni. “So many people are interested in doing this course, and so when one passes the pre-entry exam, it gives us the confidence that you will pass through the course” he said.
Prof. Mbazira introduced to students a magazine produced during the School of Law at 50 Years of existence celebrations in 2018, with information on the history of the school, some of the people that have gone through the school and the various things done.
“I want to state that you have started a process of transformation from students to lawyers and this is will enable you join the noble legal profession. Traditionally, we have three professions, that’s law, medicine and religion. By joining the noble legal profession, you are bound by professional ethics and the code of conduct that governs members of that profession” said Prof. Mbazira.
He also urged students to be honest, smart, hardworking as well as give back to the community as an obligation that comes with being a member of the noble profession. “The nature of the programme is rigorous, it requires commitment, focus and it is the application of approaches used to pass S.6 exams.”
Prof. Mbazira emphasised the need for students to read extensively as a requirement by the profession, “You can’t do a case unless you read, you can’t provide legal advise unless you read. Lawyers do a lot of constant reading, but one important thing is that once lawyers graduate, you can’t get another solid four years of reading so the four years is a golden chance for you to read.
“You may not realize that during the four years of reading the knowledge you acquire is going to help you at a certain stage. It may not help you to pass exams but helps to shape you as a lawyer, it helps to give you knowledge that you will later grow on; to represent clients, provide legal advice, to be a legislator and so forth” he added.
The Principal urged the new students to take advantage of the fact that, Makerere has the best faculty, prominent legal academics with experience both within and outside Uganda and the best law library in the country.
“The law profession is diverse, I know what most of you have is that a lawyer is some one who goes to court or seats as a judge, but you are going to discover that the legal profession is so rich that graduates of this school have done so many things including: legal practitioners, judges and magistrates, judicature, state attorneys in various capacities, lawyers of the state, prosecuting cases, giving legal advise and guiding approaches in the legislative processes, providing legal service to corporate entities, private companies, public companies, some working as company secretaries, public interest litigation among others. The legal profession is a profession that enables you to work anywhere, lawyers can work in a hospital because hospitals give legal advise, they have corporate matters that require lawyers to advice on” elaborated the Principal.
Prof. Mbazira concluded by warning students against becoming victims of self destructive behaviour. “Not everybody who attends this orientation attends the graduation ceremony due to both natural and man-made causes. Students tend to block their opportunities. I, the Deputy Principal and Heads of Department have an open door policy, and so does the Students leadership, don’t hesitate to contact us”.
A team of staff from the Counseling and Guidance Centre led by the Manager Mr. Henry Nsubuga oriented the students on the need for both psychological and mental health while in school. “We are here today but we don’t know what might befall us, tragedy can befall us at any time that’s why the university provides counseling and guidance services. Students should avoid postponing seeking help for whatever issues they may have.”
The Makerere Law Society (MLS) President, Mr. Mpindi Percy welcomed the new students. He noted that the society was formed in 1971 to represent students interests, and unveiled the first ever students’ orientation handbook by the Law Society. The Handbook documents various experiences of current students and alumni of the school. He concluded by encouraging students to always reach out to MLS for assistance.
In her remarks on Sexual harassment, Prof Sylvia Tamale defined the vice as unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or unwanted physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct. “Sexual harassment isn’t rape like most people think, no!”
She added that Makerere University has zero-tolerance for sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment is prohibited for both on and off-campus settings for Students, desk staff, administrative staff, support staff, contractors, visitors and researchers” she explained.
According to Prof. Tamale, beyond rules and policies, African people are guided by one important concept, ‘obuntu – buntubulamu’. She added that African people share a value which speaks to the maxim ‘I am because we are’ which means that you should treat the other the way you would like to be treated (with passion). “African people knew the value before the whites brought the bible.”
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Uganda Law Society (ULS) Mr. Moses Okwalinga shared that the legal profession is a lifetime commitment. “You remain an advocate/lawyer for life. What you have started is not just a career but a lifetime experience which you will pursue even after retirement.”
He urged students to be mindful of the friends they choose since they have an impact on their lives.He asked them to define their values and avoid bad company. “When you hang out with a group, their perception is your perception. This course gives you so much confidence but what you do with what you learn is very important. Remember that u came here alone. How you use what you learn is very key; the bad name will follow you all through” he said.
Prof. Ronald Mayambala, from the Department of Environmental Law urged students to honor the timetable, attend class, and avoid things that will put them in trouble either by bad company or wrong association. “Excessive politics may not be compatible with your studies, becoming religious fanatics is not good. Always balance.”
Call For Applications: Administrative Officers’ Law Short Course
Makerere University School of Law invites applications for admission to the Administrative Officers’ Law Short Course for the KAMPALA CENTRE that will run for two (2) months during the period (12th Sept. to Nov. 2022). The course will start on Monday 12th Sept. 2022 at the School of Law premises. Classes will be conducted from Monday to Friday, between 5.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M.
The tuition for the course is UGX 900,000/= and the application fee is UGX 50,000/= plus bank charge of UGX 2,750/=. Payments should be made to Makerere University/Uganda Revenue Authority, using a Deposit Reference Number (DRN) obtained from the Office of the Bursar of the School. Please contact Mr. Rolland Mpiriirwe on 0777699887/0701338259 or email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The minimum admission requirement for the course is ‘A’Level or its equivalent.
We also have other centres in Tororo, Jinja, Mukono, Mityana, Masaka, Arua, Lira, Gulu, Moroto on weekends, for (9 weekends).
For more information, contact the Course Coordinator, Assoc. Prof. Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala on 0772318528/0752983648 or email@example.com
Ndagire Joyce Irene (Administrator) on 0772498954/0701498954 or firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com, Department of Public and Comparative Law, for Application forms and also a soft copy can be sent
Desk Officers for the Centres
Vice Chancellor congratulates School of Law team upon winning the 2022 All-Africa Human Rights Moot
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor – Makerere University has congratulated the Makerere University School of Law (SoL) team – Ms. Kevin Nakimbugwe and Mr. Edwin Sabiiti upon winning the 2022 edition of the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition. The Moot Competition held from the 25th – 30th July in Cairo, Egypt was hosted by The British University in Egypt.
The All Africa Moot Competition is named after Professor Christof Heyns (1959-2021)who was a Professor of Human Rights Law, Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The 2022 edition attracted a total of 50 Law Schools, 38 of these were English speakers.
The Vice Chancellor hosted the winning team in his Office on Thursday, 4th August, 2022 and presented Certificates of Recognition to Kevin and Edwin for making Makerere University proud. Dr. Daniel Ruhweza, Lecturer at SoL and Patron of the Makerere University Moot Society and Mr. David Kasibante, alumni – SoL and team coach also attended the presentation.
Explaining to the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ruhweza said, “We are happy that you have hosted this team which worked so hard to bring the trophy home”. He also highlighted the rigorous process through which the team that represented Makerere University was selected.
In his remarks, Professor Nawangwe said, “I congratulate you for winning the competition and making Makerere University proud, more especially in this centennial year of celebration for the institution. Thank you for flying the Makerere flag high which instils confidence that the University and our School of Law are centres of excellence”. He commended the team for their commitment and doing their best to represent Makerere University. Professor Nawangwe also thanked Dr. Ruhweza for committing time to support the students. He added, “this is an activity that should be supported and I will present it to the University Council for inclusion in the budget for financial year 2023/2024”.
Sharing their experience from attending the competition, Kevin and Edwin explained to the Vice Chancellor what is entailed in participating.
“The Moot was very challenging in-terms of preparing for the competition while balancing it with class work; the processing of travel documents and visas was also quiet hard. We are grateful that you have hosted us here today and also the support of the SoL, University that enabled us to triumph despite the challenges”, Ms. Nakimbugwe said. Kevin added, “we are a brilliant team and our win is evidence”.
Edwin Sabiiti who is also the President of the Makerere University Moot Society said, “the society organises internal moots, identifies the students to represent the University at various competitions. We participate in several competitions within the country, continent and internationally, only that this is the most prestigious. Makerere University are reigning champions of the national Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) Moot Court Competition”.
Edwin further explained that mooting is an opportunity to learn as well as apply the law that we learn in class. He expressed that the University should consider inclusion of mooting as a course unit on the academic transcript because a lot of time is spent in preparing for the various competitions. Edwin also requested that the University extends a supporting arm in facilitating preparations for the various moots that the students participate in.
SoL teams also won the 2018 competition held in Accra Ghana; were 2nd in 2019 edition held in Gaborone, Botswana and emerged finalists in the 2020 edition held online and the 2021 edition held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Read more about the Competition:https://www.chr.up.ac.za/moot#:~:text=The%20Christof%20Heyns%20African%20Human,of%20human%20rights%20in%20Africa
Inaugural Makerere Law Journal Symposium held
The Makerere University School of Law (SoL) held the Inaugural Makerere Law Journal (MLJ) Symposium on 17th June 2022 under the theme, ‘Charting the Course and Diversifying Scholarly Content’. The symposium was held to give opportunity to authors of outstanding papers in recent issues of the MLJ to present their work to the general membership of the Makerere Law Society (MLS) and the public. The symposium was supported by the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC), SoL.
The MLJ is a student-edited law journal published by the SoL under the auspices of the law students’ union, MLS. The journal founded in 1971 considers submissions from legal writers, students, and scholars within Uganda and beyond. Quoting the pioneer editor of the MLJ, Daniel Omara Atubo, ‘the journal was intended as a medium for discourse on the immense problems of law’. The submissions may be for education purposes; aimed at causing law reform in the jurisprudence of Uganda or other African jurisdictions on matters of legal doctrine and philosophy; human rights; public policy; governance; economics among others.
Previously, the MLJ was printed annually, however, it is now a free-access online publication that considers, reviews and publishes submissions on a rolling year basis throughout the year. Access issues of the MLJ here: https://makererelawjournal.org/. At the inaugural symposium four papers were presented and interrogated by subject experts. Highlights of the papers are detailed below.
Tukwatanise Hans Rwantangare presented his paper titled, ‘A Case for The Application of the Theory of Deferred Indefeasibility in Uganda as an Instrument to Promote Indefeasibility of Title Under the Registration of Titles Act’. Abstract: The theory of deferred indefeasibility as opposed to immediate indefeasibility is presented as a means to improve security of title today. A comparison is made of the relative merits and demerits of the two theories of deferred and immediate indefeasibility. In so doing, the aim is to reconcile the outdated theory of immediate indefeasibility with the modern legal regime and to preserve its relevance in the prevailing socio-economic situation. In a comparative analysis, other jurisdictions, especially Canada are studied to ascertain how they have evolved their interpretation of the same. Inevitably, indefeasibility, as a concept of real property is analysed considering human rights perspectives as relatively impacted by the two theories.For more about Hans’ paper click: https://makererelawjournal.org/view-publication/35. The paper was discussed by Dr. Rose Nakayi, Senior Lecturer at SoL. Dr. Nakayi is a seasoned expert in land law and rights and an advocate for the reform of the mailo land tenure system.
Fatumah Ramathan-Nabulya presented her paper which had reviewed a case Baryamureeba V Kabakonjo Abwooli. In her review she argued that it was ‘A Win for Women’s Property Rights in Cohabitation’. Abstract: Marriage, especially at its dissolution, tends to be contentious owing to its cross cutting effects on property rights, children custody, spousal maintenance among others. It is more complex when that “union” is not legally recognized. Over 65% of Uganda’s couples are left out under the law because their arrangements are not contracted in accordance with the laws provided for. This potentially subjects women to unequal social laws (patriarchy) usually with no legal remedies. Hence, marriage, due to its overarching effects, can be breeding ground for the entrenchment of gender inequality. This paper reviews a High Court decision through which judicial activism is employed to lessen the plight of cohabiting women. Due to the time they have been in operation, it is often difficult to see our matrimonial laws for what they really are; patriarchal and gender indiscriminate. There is need for Judges to be fully alive to the history of these laws and the debates that led to their passing, to correct the wrongs of history.For more about Fatumah’s paper click: https://makererelawjournal.org/view-publication/23. Dr. Diana Musoke, Senior Lecturer, Islamic University in Uganda and expert on family law discussed the paper.
‘The Human Rights Implications of Uganda’s Borrowing’ paper was presented by Ruth Muhawe. Abstract: The relationship between the sovereign debt of developing countries and the protection of the social rights of citizens in those countries has received considerable analysis from the economic, political and moral perspectives, but relatively little has been written from the legal point of view. Consequently, this paper provides legal insights into the lingering crisis that sovereign debt poses to human rights, with a specific focus on the economy of Uganda. The paper is particularly concerned with examining what Uganda’s debt burden means for the basic observance and enjoyment of human rights by its citizens of both the present and the future.For more about Ruth’s paper click: https://makererelawjournal.org/issues (MLJ 2019 Issue) A constitutional law and international law expert, Dr. Busingye Kabumba, Senior Lecturer at SoL was the discussant of the paper.
A joint paper titled, ‘The Legal Risks of Cryptocurrency On State Sovereignty; A Case Study of Uganda’ was presented by Ntamugabumwe Victor & Joshua Kingdom. Abstract:State sovereignty is conventionally known to mean that all states are equal under Public International Law, the decisive criterion being effective power over territory and people. Indeed, the most rudimentary definition of a state is the organization of power over territory and people within that territory. However, sovereignty today depends much on the state’s monetary independence – the state’s capacity to control the flow of money and currency in their jurisdiction. With the constant evolution of money transactions from Cash to credit and then to crypto, the state must always be ready for each revolution so that sovereignty is kept. Cryptocurrencies work outside the existing legal financial framework and as such avoid the state’s invented structure to control their monetary policies, stability to achieve sovereignty.For more about the paper click: https://makererelawjournal.org/view-publication/17
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