The Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII) is an internet facility that provides the public with legal information relating to Uganda, with a view of promoting and supporting the rule of law.
ULII publishes public legal information- that is decisions of courts, legislation and some publicly available secondary legal materials created by public bodies for purposes of public access, for example the Justice Law and Order Sector(JLOS), the Uganda Law Reform Commission and the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC).
ULII has obtained the kind assistance of the Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII) and the AfricanLII (African Legal Information Institute) in its development and is a member of the free access to law movement.
The Law Reporting department is a department of the Judiciary of Uganda and is currently operating at the Judicial Studies Institute. The department carries out various activities including on-line publication of case law and laws of Uganda.
The Uganda legal information institute (ULII) is an internet facility that provides the public with legal information relating to Uganda, with a view of promoting and supporting the rule of law. The website can be accessed on www.ulii.org.
ULII publishes legal information that is: legally significant decisions of courts, legislation, treaties and some publicly available secondary legal material created by public bodies for purposes of public access for example the JLOS (Justice Law and Order Sector) and the ULRC (Uganda Law Reform Commission).
The decisions of court that are published are from all courts of record, that is; the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Constitutional Court, High Court, Commercial Court, as well as CADER(Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution) together with an electronic citation for each decision.
- Improve on-going collection of case law in electronic format from courts of record
- Ensure completeness of the database for covered years for all courts
- Scanning of older collection
- To digest the judgments to enhance the textual search capacity online
- Improve use of the website by conducting training and promotion
- Publish law reports from the case law already online.
- Publication of treaties entered into by the government of Uganda with other government and international organisations.
How we found things:
The Uganda Law Reports were last published in 1973. The East African Law Reports went out of print in 1975. Though it recently made a come back, it does not reflect the last series that covered East African courts fairly and comprehensively with the courts of all three countries participating in the editorial work. The current series mainly concentrate on reporting Kenya court decisions.
The last revision of the Laws of Uganda was the 1964 edition revised in 2000.
New statutes continue to be published as supplements to the Uganda gazette.
There is no official publication in respect of treaties entered into by government of Uganda with other government and international organisations.
The market is deficient of serious case law reporting products save for the irregular High Court Bulletins and Uganda Commercial Law Reports.
The situation has simply been disastrous for the last three decades for a common law jurisdiction where making of decisions by courts is governed by the doctrine of precedents.
Access to Law.
Online access through the internet can be in an office, at home, computer labs in schools, institution of learning or public internet cafes. It is this medium that is proposed to be utilized to provide access to Uganda’s primary and secondary legal materials on the following principles of the declaration of free access to law;
- Publication of legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity; maximizing access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law.
- Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all free of charge.
- Independent non-profit organisations have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published.
In the manner of the worldwide movement of legal information institutes, it was proposed that we organize to:
- Publish via the internet primary materials including statutes from government/parliament, case law from all courts of record and treaties entered into by government of Uganda whether ratified by parliament or not.
- Publish secondary legal materials like reports of the Uganda Law Reform Commission and other bodies.
- Provide free, full and anonymous public access to the said information.
Though there are no figures that show the connectivity of the legal community to the internet specifically, a significant number of offices in the judiciary, government law offices, parliament, DPP, academia and the public are connected to the internet. With this access it is anticipated that legal resources which has until now been unavailable in an organized manner or at all to the public and the legal profession would become available, increasing access to law, thus access to justice and the rule of law.
How to Search
The website enables legal research where one can find precedents by keywords, Case name, and case number, and subject matter, date of judgment, document title or legislation title. The public is also able to access the Laws of Uganda on this website .
Users have expressed the desire to enhance the search capacity by providing headnotes and summaries to the judgments uploaded on the website. This can be achieved by creating an index for the judgments of the different courts. We can create keywords and classify the judgments, after classification links are inserted and the index is published as a web page on the ULII website.
Currently though, all the cases that are being uploaded have case notes and case summaries.
Many of the cases should be available on ULII prior to publication. ULII should have the most important updates from the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Court of Appeal and all divisions of the High Court. Covering cases from the African Human Rights Court and providing the highest quality of reporting with all reporters being Lawyers or Judicial Officers.
Cases reported should be precise and above all, accurate summaries of those cases deemed by our reporters and editorial team to be worthy of a fuller treatment and inclusion on ULII.
Reporters should be present in court for the hearing and handing down of judgment. They should summarize the case which will then be published on ULII within 24 hours of judgment being handed down.