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Lawyers With Diploma in Legal Practice From Rwanda Not Eligible for Enrollment in Uganda– High Court

Bataamwe had obtained his Bachelors in Law from Islamic University in Uganda before acquiring a Diploma in Legal Practice from Rwanda’s Institute on August 1st 2019, which is the equivalent of a Diploma from Law Development Center in Uganda.
Lady Justice Esta Nambayo Presided over the matter
The High Court has ruled that lawyers who obtain a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Rwanda are not eligible to enroll as an Advocate in Uganda.  

Justice Esta Nambayo’s ruling stems from an application filed by Andrew Bataamwe in 2019.

Bataamwe obtained his Bachelors Degree in Law from Islamic University in Uganda before acquiring a Diploma in Legal Practice from Rwanda’s Institute of Law on August 1st 2019. The qualification is equivalent to a Diploma awarded by the Law Development Center in Uganda.

Bataamwe wrote to the Law Council seeking a Practicing Certificate as an Advocate in Uganda.

However the law council in a letter dated August 26th 2019 rejected the request on grounds that he is ineligible for enrollment on grounds that Rwanda is not under the common law jurisdiction.

Rwanda’s legal practice is premised on the civil law widely used in the Francophone countries, while Uganda practices common law, under the commonwealth system. An example in common law is one is innocent until proven guilty, while in civil law, one is guilty unless proven innocent.

Bataamwe decided to petition court challenging the decision of the Law Council saying that he is aware that a one Tony Katungi who acquired his Diploma in Legal Practice in Kenya was enrolled in Uganda as an advocate.

But, during the hearing of the case, the Law Council Committee on Legal Education and Training headed by Professor Fredrick Edward Ssempebwa opposed the application saying their decision was not tainted with any illegalities and asked the court to dismiss it. 

However, in her Judgement, Justice Nambayo ruled that Katungi's example was not applicable in the case.

Nambayo explained that Katungi’s example was only applicable to Ugandan graduates who acquired their post-graduate diploma from a common law jurisdiction like Kenya is.

“Rwanda, where the Applicant obtained his Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, is not a common-law jurisdiction. The Katungi case recognized the fact that Kenya, like Uganda, was a common law jurisdiction,” Nambayo ruled.

Justice Nambayo upheld the decision of the Law Council and dismissed Bataamwe’s application with no costs.

Bataamwe is among the 200 Ugandans who obtained a Diploma in Legal Practice in Rwanda and have since failed to get certificates enrolling them as Advocates in Uganda.

In February, they petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the matter.

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