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Uganda Law Society (ULS)’s executive council has been stripped of its self-given powers to nominate the lawyers’ umbrella body’s representatives on various statutory agencies.
High Court Judge Bonifance Wamala ruled on Friday last week that the actions of the law society’s governing council in picking some of its members and nominating them to occupy positions on statutory agencies offended Section 25 of the ULS Act and the Law Society’s own elections regulations.
Judge Bonifance Wamala made the ruling in a case filed by Lawyer and activist Steven Kalali against the Law Society in which he argued that the actions of the executive council deprived members of the law society of their freedoms to be elected and to elect from among their membership the society’s statutory representatives.
Judge Bonifance Wamala agreeing with Mr Kalali said statutory representatives of the law society are supposed to be voted by all members of the society and not elected by the few members of its governing council as per the ULS Act and elections regulations.
The Judge dismissed arguments made for the Law Society in Court by one of the council members Lawyer Isaac Kyagaba Newton that it was costly to hold elections for every other representative of the society as and when required.
” The position of Society representative under the ULS Act and Elections Regulations is elective. The election is not by way of nomination or appointment by the Council but has to be in accordance with the Elections Regulations.
“ The justifications put forward by the Respondent pointing to the practical difficulties in implementation of that part of the Regulations cannot be reason for a different construction of the Act and the Regulations. Rather they can form a ground to justify amendment of the Regulations which power is vested in the Council with the approval of the general assembly of the Society by way of a special resolution.
“As such, the act by the Respondent’s Council to nominate or appoint Society representatives in a manner other than that provided for under the ULS Elections Regulations was in breach of the Act and the Regulations.” Judge Bonifance Wamala stated.
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