Justice Ssekaana said that the rules do not provide for witnesses having and presenting their National ID before court before testifying but it is critical since some lawyers connive with litigants to present impersonators for testimony.
The Head of the Civil Division of High Court Justice Musa Ssekaana has cautioned
registrars and Magistrates about taking testimonies from witnesses who don't
have a National Identify Cards- ID to prove their identity.
Speaking at the Annual Registrars and Magistrates
Conference at Mestil Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, Justice Ssekaana said that the rules do not provide for witnesses having and
presenting their National ID before court before testifying, but it is critical
since some lawyers connive with litigants to present impersonators for
The Justice says his court has previously registered a case where a witness
under oath referred to another person telling him a statement in his affidavit.
It is then that the Justice asked who the person referred to was and asked for the
national ID of the witness. It was then occurred to the justice that the person testifying
was an impersonator staged but the litigant and the lawyer.
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The justice says that if such people are left to testify, court is bound to
make decisions based on false information.
He also told judicial officers that
a witness is only bound to an affidavit after taking oath in court.
According to the 2019 rules of Civil Procedure as amended, a witness statement
which includes the witness' full name, address, age and occupation is tendered
as evidence in Chief after the witnesses has appeared in court and taken oath.
Justice Ssekaana says often times advocates work with litigants to come up with
an affidavit sometimes without even going to the Commissioner of Oaths to
administer the Oath.
He says that's partly why even after having an affidavit said to have been
administered by a licensed Commissioner of Oaths, a witness before Court is
asked if they would like to make any amendments to their affidavits and an Oath
administered before Court.
After Court has administered the Oath, no changes
can be made to the testimony lest it is considered a contradiction, said the
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Justice Ssekaana further cautioned justices against accepting lists of
litigants without consent to prove that indeed the advocate before court is
representing the said litigants. He says when an advocate presents with a list
of litigants, they should also provide the identities of the people and their
consent to be represented.
The Justice says Court has registered some cases
where an advocate says they represent a certain number of people only to realize
later that many if not majority of the said people do not exist or didn't
consent to being represented.
The practice is said to occur especially among advocates in public interest
cases like land matters who want to exaggerate the situation, making it look
like scores of people are affected by a particular land wrangle before Court.
This, Justice Ssekaana says later presents a problem especially when there are
orders for costs.
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The Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Asiu urged the judicial officers to be
professional in their service, read and deliver quality rulings and judgement. She says the judiciary plan to improve the Judiciary Training Institute to be
able to offer further training to judicial officers and also issue recognizes
certificates of education.
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