President Yoweri Museveni has assented to the Administration of Judiciary Bill 2018 into law two weeks after it was passed by parliament.
The bill seeks to, among other things, increase the retirement benefits of judicial officers, a 100 per cent monthly salary payment to a retired Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice for life.
The Bill also seeks to create guidelines and reference for a legal and justice system by spelling out jurisdiction divisions, conditions for trials, sentencing and court fees.
It also empowers the Judiciary to deal directly with the Ministry responsible for finance in determining the retirement benefits payable to or in respect of persons serving in the Judiciary.
The bill was passed by parliament two weeks ago on 2nd June 2020, making it one of the bills that have received the president’s approval within a short period of time.
Its justification was that there is no law that comprehensively provides for the retirement benefits of judicial officers as is the case for the other two arms of Government; the Executive and the Legislature.
Moments before it was passed, Uganda’s Attorney General William Byaruhanga told parliament that judges deserve a decent life in retirement due to the nature of their work.
“The monthly payment of the retired officers is relevant since these judicial officers retire when they are too old to go and look for other employment to meet their needs. The kind of life that they lead and sitting hours on end listening to cases and writing judgments they are prone to lifestyle diseases, but this assures them of a decent life after retirement,” Byaruhanga said.
He also said that the payments to judicial officers during retirement are to ensure that the active officers serve with diligence and confidence not to be compromised.
The bill received approval from the opposition Chief Whip, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, saying that the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice are senior judicial officers who dedicate most of their time to the country and therefore deserve to retire with their salaries.
Semujju also said their (Judges) numbers are few and their offices and the other judicial officers an 80 per cent salary at retirement.
On more than three occasions, Parliament last year failed to consider the Bill after government disagreed with the committee report in regard to retirement benefits of judicial officers.
The bill now turned into law establishes the Judiciary Advisory Committee to advise the Chief Justice on the functions and administration of the Judiciary, provides for appointment of the Inspectorate of the Judiciary to receive and process internal and external complaints against any staff of the Judiciary, and establishment of a Performance Management System as well as the Judicial Training Institute to provide specialized and continuous
education to the Judiciary Service.
The privileges of the Chief Justice include:
A monthly allowance equivalent to the basic salary payable to a sitting Chief Justices paid to the retired Chief Justice for life.
A furnished house or a one-off payment of UShs, 400,000,00 0, payable in lieu of a house.
An annual medical allowance equivalent to the medical allowance payable to a sitting Chief Justice.
A chauffeur driven car or a one off payment of UShs. 200,000,000 in lieu of a car.
Travel First Class where the retired Chief Justice is required to travel abroad on official business.
Security provided by the State or an allowance of UShs. 15,000,00 0 per year payable in lieu of security.
Fuel to attend to any official Government business or State function.
Two domestic servants or payment of UShs. 300,000 per month payable in lieu of two domestic servants.
Secretarial services allowance of UShs. 150,000 per month.
Subsistence allowance at the prevailing Government rate where the retired Chief Justice is required to travel inland on official Government business.
Subsistence allowance at the prevailing Government rate where the retired Chief Justice is required to travel abroad on official Government business.
A fuel and vehicle repairs allowance of UShs. 2,000,000 per month.
A consolidated allowance of UShs. 235,000 per month to cater for airtime and internet.