Outgoing Chief Justice Bart Katureebe got the perfect send-off when President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Administration of Judiciary Bill, 2018 to make law.
Parliament early this month passed the bill that guarantees the independence of the Judiciary as the third arm of the State under the doctrine of separation of powers and on Friday, June 19, 2020, Museveni appended signature to it to ensure it becomes law.
About the law
The new law provides for and strengthens the independence of the Judiciary.
The Administration of Judiciary law operationalises provisions of the Constitution relating to the Judiciary, administration of justice, improve efficiency and effectiveness of the courts, strengthen the independence of courts, and streamline their administration.
The law also creates guidelines and references for a legal and justice system by spelling out jurisdiction divisions, conditions for trials, sentencing, and court fees.
The perfect send-off for Katureebe
By the president assenting to the bill to ensure it becomes law came on the same day as the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe retired from the judiciary after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 60.
The Constitution stipulates that justices of the appellate courts (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal) retire at 70 years, High Court judges at 65 and magistrates and registrars at 60.
Nothing came as a perfect gift to Katureebe as assenting to the bill since he was its biggest proponent.
One of the issues that Katureebe has greatly advocated for during his tenure as the Chief Justice has been the Judiciary Administration Bill.
Whenever he met with government officials, especially cabinet and legislature, Katureebe emphasized the welfare of judicial officers and this could only be ensured by passing the Judiciary Administration Bill.
The new law will ensure that the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice get a 100 percent monthly payment for life
The monthly salary payment will be equivalent to that of a sitting Chief Justice and Deputy on top of a one-off lump sum retirement benefit equivalent to 2.4 percent of the annual salary of the retiring Chief Justice multiplied by five and their years in service.
The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga recently said this is meant to reward them for the services they render for almost their entire life to serve the nation
“The monthly payment of the retired officers is relevant since these judicial officers retire when they are too old to go and look for other employment to meet their needs. The kind of life that they lead and sitting hours on end listening to cases and writing judgments they are prone to lifestyle diseases, but this assures them of a decent life after retirement,” Byaruhanga said.