Judicial Service Commission

This Judicial Service Commission was created by the Constitution of Uganda. Its duties are:

  • To advise the President on appointments, disciplinary control, and removal of the Chief Justice; Deputy Chief justice; Principal Judge; Justice of the Supreme Court; Justice of the Court of Appeal; Judge of the High Court; Chief Registrar and Registrar;
  • To appoint, confirm, discipline and remove from the off ice of the Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrars, Chief Magistrates, Magistrate Grade 1 and Magistrate Grade 2;
  • To appoint, confirm, discipline and remove from office the staff of the judiciary such as clerks;
  • To review and make recommendations on the terms and conditions of service of judicial officers;
  • To carry out programs for the education of both the public and judicial officers about the law and the administration of justice;
  • To receive and process people’s recommendations and complaints concerning the Judiciary and the administration or management of justice; and
  • To advise the Government on improving the administration of justice.

As part of its roles to educate and distribute information to judicial officers and the public about the law and the administration of justice, the Commission undertakes the following programs and activities:

  • Sensitization of members of the public at barazas, conferences or meetings on topical matters of public interest and concern.
  • Education visits to universities, tertiary institutions, schools, colleges, and other institutions.
  • Prison visits to meet with inmates.
  • Performance management meetings with judicial officers and staff of the judiciary.
  • Radio and television talk shows.
  • Radio jingles and other presentations of educational materials.
  • Publication of the Citizens Handbook on Law and the Administration of Justice and its translation in the various languages in the country.
  • Court inspections and interacting with court users and other stakeholders.
  • Interaction with other local and international NGO’s undertaking similar objectives and activities.
  • Explain and simplify court processes and procedures for all to understand.
  • Support public engagement platforms.
  • Distribute educational materials on law and administration of Justice.
  • Offer its Resource Center to the public to get legal information.

Every citizen is invited to attend and participate in any of the Commission’s activities and programs. The knowledge shared during such events is useful for claiming rights, understanding responsibilities and seeking suitable remedies.

The Judicial Service Commission Regulations set out the offences of indiscipline that a judicial officer can be penalized for if he or she does all or any of the following;

  • Conducts himself or herself in any manner damaging the good image, honor, dignity, and reputation of judicial service;
  • Practices discrimination or corruption, whether for personal advantage or gain or that of any other person;
  • Practices favoritism whether based on sex, race, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability;
  • Is a habitual late comer, or absents, or absconds from duty without reasonable excuse;
  • Is disobedient to authority, rude, abusive, and disrespectful or uses vulgar language;
  • Is lazy and or produces poor standard work;
  • Is not trustworthy or lacks integrity in public or private transactions;
  • Engages in private interests at the expense of his or her official duties;
  • Discloses official information to unauthorized persons;
  • Acts in contravention of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the Judicial Oath or any
  • other oath taken by the judicial officer;
  • Is convicted of a criminal offense by a court of law;
  • Disregards the authority in his or her place of employment without reasonable excuse;
  • Abuses judicial authority; or
  • In any way contravenes any provision of the law, Uganda Government Standing Orders or any other instructions relating to the discipline of judicial officers.

You can help the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission to hold Justices, Judges, Magistrates, Registrars, Clerks and other court staff to account. You can help your family, community and your country by monitoring and taking note of judicial officers serving in your areas, and find out whether they have committed any of the said disciplinary offenses over some time.

Document the date, time and location and the names and addresses of any witnesses that may have witnessed such offenses, and keep the evidence. It is advisable to organize and form Citizen’s Court User Committees or Court Watch Groups to monitor service delivery in the judiciary and its impact on the community and its citizens and residents.

It is important to report any violation without delay so that the evidence of such a violation is not lost, destroyed or before the witnesses to such a violation are compromised or scared.

You must report to the Commission, any offense committed by a judicial officer for investigation. If they are found to be at fault, they will face disciplinary proceedings and punishment.

  • The Commission may impose any one or more of the following penalties on a Justice, Judge, Magistrate, Registrar, Clerk or other court staff who has been found to have committed an offense:
  • Suspension;
  • Reduction in rank;
  • Order for a written undertaking from the officer not to repeat the offense;
  • Reduction in salary;
  • Stoppage of salary increments; meaning the judicial officer will be denied any salary increments;
  • Deferment of increments; meaning that any increment of salary or allowance due to the judicial officer will not be paid to him or her immediately but will be postponed or delayed to a later date;
  • Severe warning;
  • Warning;
  • Order payment of compensation;
  • The recovery of the cost or part of the cost of any loss or damage caused by default or negligence, whether by deduction from salary or gratuity or otherwise.

Note: In case the Judicial Service Commission finds that the misconduct of a Justice or Judge necessitates removal from office, the Commission recommends to H.E. The President of Uganda to put together a Tribunal to inquire into the alleged misconduct.

Do not fear to make a complaint against any Justice, Judge, Magistrate, Registrar or Clerk

You may report a judicial officer to the following persons that should forward your complaint to the Judicial Service Commission:

  1. The Chief Justice;
  2. The Chief Inspector of the Courts of judicature;
  3. The Resident Judge in the area;
  4. The Chief Magistrate in the area;
  5. The Inspectorate of Courts;
  6. Your local leader, such as civic leader, local counselor, faith leader, Member of Parliament, police, or elder;

Or directly to

Judicial Service Commission Lotis Towers, 6th, 7th, and 8th Floors Plot 16, Mackinnon Road, Nakasero. P. O. Box 7679 Kampala, Uganda Tel: 256-414 344 154. Toll Free Lines: 0800100221 / 0800100222

NOTE: The judiciary and Judicial Service Commission has Zero Tolerance to Corruption. Any Judicial officer who commits any acts of corruption, improper conduct, or neglect of duty or maladministration of justice, must be reported to the Commission for investigation and disciplinary action.

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