JIFA Newsflash #1/18   31 January 2018
 
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UPCOMING COURSES 
 
JIFA COURSE DATES 2018
 
Both courses are held at the University of Cape Town and all costs of participants are covered by JIFA – travel , accommodation and meals etc for the duration of the course. Two delegates per member country of the SACJF are invited to participate.
 
If you are interested in attending any of the courses, please discuss with your Chief Justice.
 
Core Skills course 23 – 28 April 2018
This course covers core issues such as judicial independence and ethics; motions and applications ; judgement writing etc
 
Specialist Human Rights Course 1 – 5 October 2018
 
This course builds on the Introductory courses offer in previous years and will offer one-day in-depth sessions on gender rights, modern slavery and trafficking; children’s rights ; customary law and privacy and security
 
Judicial leaders Retreat 23 – 28 July 2018
 
This retreat is reserved for the leadership of the judiciary.
 
 
Uganda: Judicial Independence Reaffirmed
 
 
JUDGES of Uganda’s constitutional court have come to the rescue of two judicial colleagues, finding that the statutory five-year limited term of office of the industrial court bench undermined judicial independence and was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
 
The constitutional court was considering the petition of the industrial court’s two members: its chief judge, Asapah Ntengye, and a second industrial court judge, Linda Mugisha. Both were appointed to the court after the Judicial Service Commission invited them for interviews in 2014. However, their official appointment letter indicated that in terms of the labour laws, they were appointed for a period of five years only.
 
The two industrial court judges found this unacceptable, and tried to clarify and regularize their appointment conditions. They said their appointments had to be governed by the constitution – that is, they should have permanent and pensionable appointments as with all other judges, rather than a short, limited term in office as provided by the labour laws.
 
They brought their constitutional petition after correspondence with other officials including the principal judge (who heads the high court and assists the chief justice), and the permanent secretary of the ministry of public service, all trying to resolve the dispute.
 
A major question was whether, if they hold office for just five years, they might in fact not be “real” judges of the courts of judicature.
 
Counsel for the judges made the point in argument that Uganda’s industrial court was a creature of statute, and the constitution did not give parliament the power to restrict the term of office of judicial officers. If the constitutional court were to dismiss the petition, it would open the way for parliament to “enact laws creating courts with different terms of service” from that prescribed under the constitution. And that in turn would “undermine the independence of the judiciary”.
 
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JIFA, A joint initiative of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit, University of Cape Town, ICJ-Africa and The Southern African Chief Justices' Forum