A section of lawyers have asked the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, to reign in on the Uganda Law Council (Law Council) for what they said is a vile plot to lock them out of legal practice.
Their contention is that they studied law in Uganda, but finished their Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Rwanda, which the Law Council is adamant to recognise.
The Advocates Act requires legal practitioners to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre in Uganda or a recognised institution, topped with a painstaking process to enroll as an advocate of the High Court.
A crestfallen Wahab Kassim, who led the petitioners, recounted their ordeal to the Speaker during a meeting on Monday, 24 February 2020 in her boardroom.
“We have made attempts to apply to the Law Council for the Certificate of Eligibility but they have rejected; we have been told that our applications have been rejected because Rwanda is not a common law country,” he said, adding that the Law Council has no basis for rejecting their applications.
“We request that Parliament intervenes in the issues to allow us practice our profession; we are Ugandans and we have rights to practice our profession,” said Kassim.
Others were Ms Afuwa Nalubwama, Messrs Moses Kayima Nyanzi and Mohammed Kato.
Speaker Kadaga asked the Law Council to reconsider their position, promising to accord the petitioners with all help necessary.
“It is an area that needs to be addressed because in the past, Rwanda practiced the [French Legal System] and they have recently been practicing Commonwealth Law; that should not be an issue because you did your common law degree here,” said Kadaga.
“They [Rwanda] are late comers in the Commonwealth but there are many things we do together,” said Kadaga.
She advised the Law Council to write the necessary regulations to permit the lawyers to practice in Uganda.
With the East African Community protocols notwithstanding, member states have been blocking counterparts’ citizens with postgraduate certificates from practicing in their countries.