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Deputy CJ Buteera roots for ULII independence

Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera has vouched for the independence of the Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII)).

He says the independence of the institute will enable it to operate effectively without bureaucracy.

ULII is a free legal information service provider under the Law Reporting Unit of the Uganda Judiciary, whose major aim is to bridge
the existing gap in public access to the law of Uganda.

ULII is part of the African Legal Information Institute (ALII) that convenes a network of 16 African LIIs to assist governments, academia and private organisations in publishing African country laws for long-term open access.

Buteera expressed his confidence in the legal institute, highlighting how it has eased the work of the Judiciary and how it will continue to do so if granted its sovereignty.

“Autonomy for ULII would benefit everyone,” Buteera said supporting the idea of it becoming a registry or having increased facilitation.

The Deputy Chief Justice made the remarks on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, during a meeting at the Court of Appeal in Kampala with African LII director Mariya Badeva, who had paid a courtesy visit
to the country.

Buteera appreciated ULII’s enhancements and tools, notably Artificial Intelligence, anticipating substantial support for Judicial Officers in simplifying their work.
He also emphasized the importance of improving staff training to enhance ULII utilisation across all stations. He further highlighted that numerous stations, particularly in remote areas, face challenges accessing facilities, making ULII utilisation difficult.

The purpose of the visit was to enhance the connection between African LII and ULII to streamline law reporting with the goal to improve and expand Uganda’s jurisprudence information sharing in legal research.

Supporting judicial officers
Badeva highlighted AfricanLII’s dedication to supporting ULII users such as judicial officers, legal reporting officers and litigants by enhancing ULII’s user-friendliness through various tools, streamlining access to judgments.

She highlighted some of the strategic initiatives which include citations and summarizing all ULII judgments for increased effectiveness.

Badeva also urged the Judiciary to back ULII’s innovative proposals, seeking support to enhance ULII’s popularity and provide training to judicial officers for effective research and use of the platform.

AfricanLII is a programme of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Public Law. Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire emphasized the significance of enhancing ULII through value addition, including integration with the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS).

He re-eoched the need for granting autonomy to ULII, providing it with a dedicated registry with Judicial Officers and support staff.

Kiryabwire also underscored the problem of delayed submission and retention of judgments, emphasizing the need for timely submissions following the delivery of judgments to ensure they are uploaded on ULII.

Later, the team also paid a courtesy call to acting principal judge Musa Ssekaana.

Ssekaana emphasized the importance of making ULII user-friendly for both judicial officers and litigants, underscoring its potential impact.

Highlighting increased reliance on technology during COVID-19, Justice Ssekaana advocated for a simplified ULII to enhance performance, calling for the availability of ULII tools for judicial
officers, considering their uniform targets whether they are in Kampala or upcountry.

Justice Ssekaana also noted that implementing these improvements in ULII would be beneficial for both legal professionals and other court users.

The move is valid since the Judiciary considers access to its decisions and the law upon which they are based as key tenets of its key mission: Justice for All.

Present were private legal secretary to DCJ Mushabe Alex Karocho, acting deputy registrar JTI Mulalira Faisal Umar and Laws.Africa project manager Marina Chindia, among others.

Source: The New Vision