damages

Sewage is ‘not a public friend’

A broken sewerage pipe in the capital of Malawi has led to a successful claim for damages under the country’s consumer protection legislation. The pipe broke but when it was not initially fixed by the authorities, sewage found its way into the pipe that supplied clean water for drinking and other household use. Consumers then formed a neighbourhood action group to monitor the quality of the drinking water, and to bring legal action for compensation.

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To the best of my memory it has not happened before that I have had to apologise in advance for the content of a story about a court decision. This, however, is the exception proving the rule.

No one will find the content of the judgment pleasant, while the detailed complaint of the applicants is not for sensitive stomachs.

You have been warned!

Police officers cannot escape responsibility for rights abuse by citing ‘higher orders’ – Ugandan court

A judge of Uganda's high court has ruled that individual members of the police and other security forces may not rely on 'higher orders' or claims that they were waiting for orders 'from above', to justify human rights violations. Judge Margaret Mutonyi ordered significant damages as compensation to a number of applicants after she found police had abused their rights. In one of the two applications she dealt with, a number of people were unlawfully arrested and detained for participating in a legal protest against the raising of Uganda's presidential age limit.

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It would be difficult to overstate the potential importance of a case just decided by the High Court in Uganda. More than a dozen applicants went to court against a number of police officers and the Attorney-General. Originally two separate matters, the applications were joined by the High Court judge presiding, Margaret Mutonyi, who said they raised similar issues.

Zim judge gives stunning human rights decision in transgender case

A member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has just delivered a landmark decision in a case heard while he was still a member of the high court in Bulawayo. It concerns a transgender Zimbabwean subjected to appalling infringements of her constitutional rights at the hands of the police and a high profile member of the ruling ZANU-PF's Youth League. Although she has now been awarded damages by the court, she has already left the country after claiming asylum in the USA on the grounds of Zimbabwe’s shocking treatment of LGBTI people.

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Ever since he took office as a member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, Justice Francis Bere’s professional life has been something of a roller-coaster.

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