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Court to decide Kalali’s suit against ULS in December


Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court has scheduled December 8th, 2023 to deliver its judgment in the case where lawyer Steven Kalali filed a lawsuit against the Uganda Law Society (ULS). Kalali accused the ULS of denying him and other lawyers the opportunity to participate in the election of their representatives to various statutory bodies.

The Civil Division High Court Judge Boniface Wamala set the date Wednesday when Kalali and ULS lawyer Godwin Muhwezi Matsiko appeared before him for a status update. The court sought to confirm whether the parties had complied with the judge’s orders made approximately a month ago regarding written submissions in the case and reasons why the judge should rule in their favor.

Both parties confirmed that they had submitted their arguments through the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS), and these submissions were available in the court’s records. Justice Wamala then scheduled the judgment for December 8th, with the decision to be communicated via email, eliminating the need for physical attendance.

In July 2023, Steven Kalali, a member of ULS, filed a lawsuit against the association, alleging that the society leadership had been selecting representatives for various statutory bodies since 2016, contrary to the governing Act and election regulations. These regulations mandate members to elect their representatives through the Annual General Assembly.

In his petition, Kalali listed 24 statutory bodies where the Uganda Law Society is represented, including the Judicial Service Commission, Anti-Pornographic Control Committee, and Media Council, among others. He argued that the ULS leadership had never conducted elections for these positions since the 2016 General Election Regulations came into effect.

Kalali contended that such actions by the ULS leadership infringed on the rights of members, including the freedom of expression, and were unlawful and lacking in transparency. He emphasized that a professional body like the ULS should uphold democratic principles and good governance. According to Kalali, some individuals held these positions for extended periods without giving others a chance, which contradicted principles of good governance, the rule of law, and transparency.

He stressed that representatives should be elected or nominated with the consent or approval of the respective class they represent, and the ULS could not act on behalf of members without their consent or resolution. Kalali claimed to have engaged the ULS President and the Secretary-General on this matter but alleged that their response was inadequate.

This legal action occurs in the lead-up to the Annual General Assembly for ULS scheduled for September 29th and 30th, 2023. Kalali believes that regardless of the court’s decision delay, illegality remains illegality, and the decision will have an impact at any time.

Notably, this is not the first time Kalali has taken legal action to safeguard voters’ rights. In a previous case, he successfully challenged the Electoral Commission, leading to the recognition of the voting rights of prisoners and Ugandans in the diaspora for the 2026 elections.