On Monday I began my summer internship. When we arrived at the court house in morning Justice Kiryabwire (the justice who arranged our internships) was presiding over some cases so we went to watch him and see what Ugandan Court proceedings are like. They were relatively similar to cases in the U.S. They were formal, but at the same time not as structured as ours because the judges have a little more flexibility. Things definitely work a little slower mainly because they do not have the same discovery process as we have in the United States and therefore the lawyers have to spend time looking for things to give the opposing counsel and reading documents.
During his break from the court session Justice Kiryabwire invited us all into his office to talk about our summer internships more and to let us know what judges we will be assigned to this summer. I was lucky enough to be assigned to Chief Justice Odoki, who is the most important judge in Uganda and the 3rd most powerful person in Uganda!!! I am very excited about this position and feel so honored to be given such an important position.
After our orientation to Uganda and the court system on Monday and Tuesday, I was finally able to meet Chief Justice Odoki on Wednesday. I was nervous to meet him because he is such an important person in Uganda and I wanted to make a good first impression. When I walked in he was sitting at his desk working and got up to meet me. Chief Justice Odoki, Henry (the Registrar of the Commercial Court), and I sat down in the sitting area to talk for a little bit. The Chief Justice was very interested to hear about the dual degree program because that is not something that they have in the Uganda. After we had talked for a little while, the Chief Justice began to discuss the work that I would be doing this summer. Because he was going out of town this weekend to a rule of law conference in Qatar for the next couple of days (a conference that Dean Starr of the law school is also going to), he decided to give me a book that he is currently updating to go through. He wanted me to find the new statutes since the majority of the statutes had been revised since the last edition. This was a good opportunity for me to get familiar with Ugandan law and how to do research in Uganda. I have been working on that project since I was given it and will have it done by Tuesday when I will meet with the Chief Justice again. The good news is that on Tuesday I am supposed to get to start working on the cases that are before him and researching and writing opinions for him. I think this work will really utilize my policy background because I will be able to discuss the policy implications of the different interpretations that he can make of the law and help him to choose the interpretation that will result in the best policy outcomes for Uganda.