City lawyers Nelson Walusimbi and Andrew Wambi have
petitioned court, challenging Uganda Law Society’s arbitration and mediation
centre, because it is a privately-owned company operating without the consent
of the society’s members.
The lawyers sued ULS, the umbrella professional body of
lawyers in the country with International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation
in Kampala (ICAMEK), which is a limited liability company.
ICAMEK was incorporated by the Uganda Registration of
Services Bureau on July 26, 2018 with ULS and Uganda Bankers’ Association as
The complainants are seeking court declaration that
ULS acted outside its statutory mandate and hence acted illegally by
subscribing to ICAMEK.
The lawyers allege that by subscribing as a member to
ICAMEK, ULS is modifying its statutory mandate to circumvent the limits imposed
on it by stature and to aid private profit initiatives against the general
public of Uganda.
“The acts of the first defendant (ULS) amount to
divestiture from itself of its role and duty to the public thereby its
subscription is incompatible with the exercise of its role and its duty to the
public and to the government as provided for by statute,” the petitioners said.
The complainants added that by subscribing to ICAMEK,
ULS committed its members to shouldering of liability against the express
restrictions of its mother stature.
They want court to declare that ULS and ICAMEK’s
agenda of setting up an alternative dispute resolution judicial practice and
administration that is parallel to the one established by the government
through statutes for public utility and satisfaction is illegal.
“A declaration that the administration and
dispensation of justice is, by virtue of the Constitution of the Republic of
Uganda, a preserve of the government and therefore a private entity such as the
second defendant (ICAMEK) is prohibited by law from setting up a parallel and competing
system of justice and judicial administration from that which is endangered by
the state,” the plaintiffs stated.
The plaintiffs on top of allegations that ULS’s
subscription to ICAMEK is illegal on top of the use of its seal in any of the
activities of the company to which it is not bound by any incidental
transactions or deeds.
The lawyers insist the leadership of ULS should take
members seriously and act for the common good.