Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act
- Commenced on 24 February 1955
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2000.]
- [Note: The version of the Act as at 31 December 2000 was revised and consolidated by the Law Reform Commission of Uganda. All subsequent amendments have been researched and applied by Laws.Africa for ULII.]
Part I – Interpretation
1. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—(a)"clerk" means the clerk to Parliament;(b)"committee" means any standing, sessional, select or other committee of Parliament;(c)"court" means a magistrate’s court established under the Magistrates Courts Act, over which presides a chief magistrate or a magistrate grade I;(d)"journals" means the minutes of Parliament or the official record of the votes and proceedings of Parliament;(e)"member" means any member of Parliament;(f)"officer of Parliament" means the clerk or any other officer or person acting within the precincts of Parliament, other than when serving a summons under section 9(3), under the orders of the Speaker, and includes any police officer on duty within the precincts of Parliament;(g)"police officer" has the same meaning as in the Police Act;(h)"precincts of Parliament" means the chamber and offices of Parliament and the galleries and places provided for the use or accommodation of strangers, members of the public and representatives of the press, and includes, while Parliament is sitting, and subject to any exceptions made by the direction of the Speaker, the entire building in which the chamber of Parliament is situated, and any forecourt, yard, garden, enclosure or open space adjoining or appertaining to that building and used or provided for the purposes of Parliament;(i)"Speaker" means the Speaker of Parliament and includes any other member of Parliament when that other member is presiding at a meeting of Parliament;(j)"standing orders" means the Standing Orders of Parliament for the time being in force;(k)"stranger" means any person other than a member or an officer of Parliament.
Part II – Privileges and immunities
2. Immunity from legal proceedingsNo civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, Parliament or to a committee, or by reason of any matter or thing brought by the member in Parliament or a committee by petition, bill, motion or otherwise.
3. Freedom from arrest for civil debt during sessionNo member shall be liable to arrest for any civil debt, except a debt the contraction of which constitutes a criminal offence, while going to, attending at, or returning from a sitting of Parliament or any committee.
4. Exercise of civil processNo process issued by any court in Uganda in the exercise of its civil jurisdiction shall be served or executed within the precincts of Parliament while Parliament is sitting or through the Speaker, the clerk or any officer of Parliament.
5. Entry to ParliamentNo stranger shall be entitled as of right to enter or to remain within the precincts of Parliament.
6. Regulation of admission to Parliament
7. Order for withdrawal of strangersThe Speaker may at any time order any stranger to withdraw from the precincts of Parliament.
Part III – Evidence
8. Power to order attendance of witnesses
9. Attendance to be notified by summons
10. Power to issue warrant to compel attendance
11. Witnesses may be examined on oathParliament or any committee empowered to order the attendance of witnesses may require that any facts, matters and things relating to the subject of inquiry before Parliament or the committee be verified or otherwise ascertained by the oral examination of witnesses, and may cause any such witnesses to be examined upon oath, which the clerk or the chairperson of the committee or other person specially appointed for that purpose is authorised to administer.
12. Objection to answer question or to produce papers
13. Privileges of witnesses
14. Evidence of proceedings in Parliament or committee not to be given without leave
15. Questions relating to evidence and production of documents before Parliament or committee to be determined in accordance with usage of Parliament of the United KingdomWhere at any time any question arises in Parliament or in a committee in regard to—
Part IV – Offences and penalties
16. Proceedings to be deemed judicial proceedings for certain purposesAny proceedings before Parliament or a committee at which any person gives evidence or produces any paper, book, record or document shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings for the purposes of sections 94, 99, 101 and 102 of the Penal Code Act.
17. Offences and penalties relating to admittance to ParliamentAny person who—
18. Other offences and penaltiesAny person who—
19. Acceptance of bribes by membersAny member who accepts or agrees to accept or obtains or attempts to obtain for himself or herself or for any other person any bribe, fee, compensation, reward or benefit of any kind for speaking, voting or acting as such member or for refraining from so speaking, voting or acting or on account of his or her having so spoken, voted or acted or having so refrained commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding four thousand shillings or to imprisonment for two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Part V – Miscellaneous
20. Commons journals to be prima facie evidence in inquiries touching privilegeSubject to this Act, a copy of the Journals of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland printed or purporting to be printed by the order or by the printer of the Commons House shall be received as prima facie evidence without proof of its being such copy upon any inquiry touching the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament or of any member of Parliament.
21. Journals printed by order of Parliament to be admitted as evidenceUpon any inquiry touching the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament or of any member, any copy of the journals printed or purporting to be printed by the Government Printer shall be admitted as evidence of such journals in all courts and places without any proof being given that the copy was so printed.
22. Penalty for printing false copy of Act, journal, etc.Any person who prints or causes to be printed a copy of any Act now or hereafter in force, or a copy of any report, paper, minutes or votes and proceedings of Parliament as purporting to have been printed by the Government Printer or by or under the authority of Parliament, or by the Speaker, and the Act is not so printed, or shall tender in evidence any such copy as purporting to be so printed knowing that it was not so printed, commits an offence and is liable on conviction before a court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
23. Protection of persons responsible for publications authorised by ParliamentAny person, being a defendant in any civil or criminal proceedings instituted for or on account or in respect of the publication by that person or by his or her servant, by order or under the authority of Parliament, of any reports, papers, minutes, votes and proceedings, may, on giving to the plaintiff or prosecutor, as the case may be, twenty-four hours written notice of his or her intention, bring before the court in which the civil or criminal proceedings are being held a certificate under the hand of the Speaker stating that the reports, papers, minutes, votes and proceedings in respect of which the civil or criminal proceedings have been instituted were published by that person or by his or her servants by order or under the authority of Parliament together with an affidavit verifying the certificate; and the court shall thereupon immediately stay the civil or criminal proceedings, and the proceedings and every process issued in the proceedings shall be deemed to be finally determined.
24. Publication of proceedings without maliceIn any civil proceedings instituted for publishing any report or summary of or any extract from or abstract of any report, paper, minutes, votes and proceedings of Parliament, if the court is satisfied that the report, summary, extract or abstract was published bona fide and without malice, judgment shall be entered for the defendant.
25. Exercise of jurisdiction by courtsNeither the Speaker nor any officer of Parliament shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in the Speaker or that officer by or under this Act.
26. Powers of officersEvery officer of Parliament shall, for the purposes of this Act and of the application of the criminal law, have all the powers and enjoy all the privileges of a police officer.
27. Power of arrestAn officer of Parliament may arrest without warrant—
28. Sanction for prosecutionsNo prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except with the written sanction of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
History of this document
31 December 2000 this version
24 February 1955