Industrial Court

This court was set up for purposes of resolving disputes between employers and employees.

It is composed of 5 members:

  1. Chief Judge
  2. A Judge
  3. An independent member
  4. Representative of employers
  5. Representative of employees

Strict rules of evidence do not apply in this court. This is because an employee, who often has little knowledge of the law and in most cases may not afford to hire a lawyer, would be disadvantaged in proving his or her claim or case against an employer.

The Industrial Court accepts cases brought to it as a first time complaint, as well as appeals. This means that it can decide cases of a labor nature on appeal from decisions made by a labor officer, or cases or claims brought to it directly.

Employment / Labour Case Process

Step 1:

If you are unhappy about a labor or employment matter, you can complain to the Labour Officer in your district. The labor office is usually located at the district offices where the Community Development Officer (CDO) sits.

Step 2:

  1. You make a request to the Labour Officer to help in the dispute to bring about an agreement or repair your relationship with the employer;
  2. The Labour Officer is required to make a decision within 90 days;
  3. If no decision is made in 90 days, you can appeal to the Industrial Court;
  4. The Labour Officer must give reasons for the decision he/she has made;
  5. The Labour Officer must also give reasons for not deciding within 90 days;
  6. You may also ask a Labour Officer to refer your case to the Industrial Court.

Step 3:

  1.  If the Labour Officer does not send your case to the Industrial Court, you can contact the Industrial Court;
  2. When your case is received by the Industrial Court, the Registrar will notify you and the employer;
  3. Within 7 days of receiving the notice from the Registrar of the Industrial Court, you have to send a statement of claims or an explanation of your case to the Industrial Court and also your employer;
  4. Your employer is required to reply to your statement of claims within 7 days of receiving it;
  5. You and your employer must send to the Industrial Court 6 copies of each document that you will use as evidence;
  6. The Registrar will choose a date when the Industrial Court will hear your case and inform you and your employer.

Step 4:

  1. You and your employer will be required to promise that you will tell the truth to the Court and you will be asked to place your hand on the book of your faith (Bible/Qur’an)
  2. The Court will hear all the evidence from you and your employer;
  3. The Court will then make a decision or judgment, based on the evidence. The decision or judgment of the Industrial Court is known as an “Award”;
  4. Any person against whom an Award is made must obey it.
  5. If your employer fails to obey the order you should seek further advice from a Legal Aid Provider or Lawyer or Advocate.


“A Citizen’s Handbook on Law and Administration of Justice in Uganda, Fourth Edition“