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MPs Want Lawyers Trained In Ethics, Integrity

Members of Parliament want the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to come up with costing for training of lawyers on ethics and integrity.

This comes after the number of complaints filed against advocates increased.

Appearing on the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs yesterday  to present the performance of the Ministry of Justice in 2019/2020, Deputy Solicitor General, Christopher Gashirabake, highlighted that Law Council registered 74 complaints against errant advocates and out of these, 68 were male while 6 were female.

The Council was in position to handle 19 cases out of the backlog against errant lawyers in  seven sittings.

Reacting to the rise in complaints,  Veronica Bichetero (Kaberamaido County) said in the 70’s and 80’s when she started practice, such scenarios never arose.

“We should put something in budget to train lawyers. Prevention is better than arrest, can we get to the root cause of this behaviour?” Bichetero said.

She was backed by fellow lawmakers like Markson Oboth and Robina Rwakoojo, who however questioned the Law Council to explain why they had to categorise the complaints into gender, with the Secretary to Uganda Law Council saying the move was intended to fulfill requirements in gender equality during the budgeting process.

Oboth said: “The bar is the bar, why categorise male and female?”

Gashirabake also said the Ministry of Justice was proposing to add three additional meetings to be held to dispose the backlog at the Law Council.

He also called for the increase of enumeration of members of the Law Council saying the current Shs148,000 paid to each member is so minimal and most of the members prefer to attend to personal business than sit from 10am to 3pm.

The amount the members of the Law Council earn per sitting shocked MPs, with Oboth, Chairperson Legal Committee remarking, “This is the first time in four years that the matter is coming up. I hope you have cost some of those items. How can you have Justice of Court of Appeal preside over a meeting of Shs148,000?”

The Deputy Solicitor General however said the amount paid is what is stipulated in the Public Standing Orders and there is need for the Minister of Justice to discuss with his counterpart, Minister of Public Service to treat the Law Council as a special case in order to increase the threshold.

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