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Access to law includes access to unreported cases as well

A recurring objection to universal online publication of case law by the legal profession is the perceived risk of ‘information overload’. Shouldn’t we rather focus on providing access to a smaller number of ‘reportable’ cases, through the mechanism of law reports? This issue was raised yet again by senior judges during the seminar in Kampala last month, and I wanted to take this opportunity to more fully flesh out my response.

Med Kaggwa, Ugandan human rights defender RIP

At the time of his death Med Kaggwa chaired the Uganda Human Rights Commission. But his wide experience included serving two terms as a member of the East African Legislative Assembly. He had also been part of the Constitution Review Commission, a country-wide drive to collect the views of the public on proposed content of an amended constitution.

Tanzanian judges: nowhere to hide under-performance

Tanzania’s judicial leadership has found a new way of keeping up to date with decisions by all members of the bench. As part of a commitment to using technology for improving court efficiency, all judgments will be loaded into the Tanzania Legal Information Institute – TanzLII – section of Tanzania’s judiciary website, immediately they are delivered. That means decisions of Tanzania’s judges will be freely available to the public as well as to judicial leaders for performance appraisal, virtually as they are handed down.

The power of law to challenge injustice

Bad though things are in South Africa at the moment, they are not anything like as fearful or difficult as the successive states of emergency, the political oppression and brutality of the 1980s. And perhaps it is because the politics of those years in SA were so all-consuming that I seldom focused for very long on what was happening next door in what is now Namibia.

Why has Uganda’s important new human rights law not been officially promulgated?

Four months ago, we published an enthusiastic story about a new law in Uganda. It was headed, ‘Uganda’s brave new human rights law takes enforcement to a new level’.

This important new law introduced a number of ways to ensure that human rights were respected, including holding state officials responsible for all or part of the legal costs if they were found to have infringed the new law, Officials would also be liable for part of any damages awarded.

Judiciaries leading free access to law movement in Africa

Senior judicial leaders, including host Uganda’s Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe and African Court President Justice Sylvain Ore, took part in the Freedom of Expression Seminar in Kampala, Uganda on 29 October 2019.

In the Case of Szücs v. Austria the European Court of Human Rights observed that ‘[t]he ability of citizens to access court decisions protects against the administration of justice in secret, and is a means to maintain public confidence in courts.’ Free access to court decisions in the African context was the topic of a presentation to a gathering of continental judicial leaders on the sidelines of the 4th African Union Judicial Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda last week.

'Satan did it', claims rape accused

Read judgment

This is the first time I have read judgment in a rape trial heard by the High Court of Sierra Leone. There are several ways in which it is different from cases in other jurisdictions involving child rape or ‘defilement’ as it is sometimes called, and some of these differences are worth pointing out.