On Friday 19th June 2020, President Yoweri Museveni ascended to the Judiciary Administration Bill of 2018 into law.
The law was signed on Chief Justice Bart Katureebe’s last day in office. He had passionately pushed for this piece of legislation that was being held by parliament.
The Act is among others aimed at promoting independence of the judiciary by providing it with full authority over retirement benefits of all its officers.
The Act puts in place a council of 18 members which will among others advise the Chief Justice on means and ways of securing adequate financing, matters relating to personnel or staff development and welfare or any other matters relating to administration of Justice.
The Act further provides that any judicial officer appointed to an institution out outside the Judiciary, shall apply to the Judicial Service Commission for leave of absence without pay from the Judiciary.
Upon getting permission, they shall apply for leave from judiciary for a period not exceeding three years. Beyond this, that person will need to retire first from the judiciary.
According to this new law, all judicial officers from Chief Justice up to Grade One Magistrate are entitled to retirement benefits including those who retired before enactment of this Act but have been receiving pension in respect of their service.
“A retired Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, receive a monthly retirement benefit equivalent to the salary payable to a sitting Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.”
If a judicial officer is removed from the Judiciary Service in accordance with the Constitution or where the judicial officer absconds from duty; they shall not be entitled to the above benefits
In case a Judicial officer dies before receiving his retirement benefits, the surviving spouse or spouses and dependent children of the deceased judicial officer shall be entitled to a one-off lump sum retirement benefit granted and a monthly retirement benefit for a period of fifteen years from the date of the death of the judicial officer.
The law also establishes a Judiciary Fund where all funds of the Judiciary shall be deposited.
The funds of the Judiciary shall include; money appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the Judiciary, grants or donations approved by the Minister for finance; and all other moneys received by the Judiciary in the exercise of its functions.