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Introduction

In a bid to improve its service delivery and achieve its objectives, the Uganda Revenue Authority carries out various engagements with its stakeholders to sensitise and have discussions with them regarding Uganda’s tax system. As such, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in joint partnership with the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) agreed to carry out regular trainings and engagements with the Honourable members of the Judiciary regarding matters of taxation.

In this regard, the URA and JTI have successfully jointly organised annual trainings for the Honourable Judges, Members of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT), Learned Registrars, and Judicial officers of Magisterial ranks dating from 2010 to the recently concluded training for the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in June 2017. These trainings were aimed at training participants on the emerging trends in tax law, policy and administration, the oil and gas value chain, electronic transactions, crime and digital evidence, developments in International tax, Regional policies, administration developments and regional economic Integration among others.

Objective

Article 152 (1) of the Constitution provides: ‘No tax shall be imposed except under the authority of an Act of parliament.’ This Article grants Parliament exclusive powers to create taxes and prohibits any taxation but by an Act of Parliament. The executive is then tasked with the duty to assess, collect and account for the taxes imposed by Parliament. This is the role of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development which is performed through Uganda Revenue Authority. The Judiciary and TAT on the other hand, performs the role of an arbiter between tax payers and the collecting agency of the executive.

The role of the judiciary and the TAT is to ensure that the intention of the Legislature in the taxing Statutes is achieved through consistent and informed interpretations. They must also impartially and expeditiously dispose of all cases before them. It is further the role of Courts to contribute to the realisation of tax compliance through development to tax jurisprudence and sanctioning of tax evaders while also having the insight to detect aggressive tax planning bordering on evasion. To do this, all judicial officers and TAT members must not only have a sound understanding of the tax laws of Uganda, but must keep themselves abreast with developments in tax jurisprudence here and in other international regimes.

The objective of this training is to provide a platform for exchange of experiences and best practices in the field of taxation and to further attempt to address the recommendations raised by the Justices of the Higher Courts. The engagement shall equip the participants with information and knowledge of Uganda’s tax system, the new developments therein and its effect on the country’s economic growth. It is further intended to generate a discussion on matters of best practices in domestic, regional and international taxation.

Following the most recent engagement with the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, a number of recommendations were raised these include;

  • A journal with full papers presented be made to sustain knowledge sharing.
  • Have a case study discussion of actual/real case issues involved and impact on URA’s future work.
  • Require more time for discussion of the topics handled.
  • Engage judicial officers of the Lower bench.
  • Balance interests to include Tax payers’ interests.
  • Involve the Civil Society Organisations as they are more on the ground and can share with URA the taxpayers’ grievances.
  • More interaction with the members of the judiciary. Make it bi-annual
  • Change delivery to suit adult learners.

Introduction and Background

 

The Judiciary will be hosting its Annual Judges’ Conference, 2018, at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel, Munyonyo scheduled between the 21st and 25th January 2018. This is an annual activity where judges of the courts of record meet to discuss pertinent and policy issues affecting the administration of justice in Uganda with the view to making the institution (Judiciary) more effective, efficient and relevant.

 

Theme of the Conference

The Annual Judges Conference, 2018, will be held under the theme “An Inclusive Judiciary for Sustainable Development”. This is in tandem with Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Uganda’s National Development Plan. 

General Objective of the Conference

 

The General objective of the Conference is to take stock of what the Judiciary achieved in the year 2017 and devise means of placing the Judiciary at the epicentre of Sustainable Development.

 

 The Specific objectives of the Conference are to –

  1. Share experiences between judges and Justice Law and Order Sector actors on reforms to make the administration of justice inclusive in Uganda
  2. Amplify the link between the Rule of law, the Judiciary and Sustainable Development.
  3. Share innovations in the administration of justice as implemented by the various JLOS stakeholders.
  4. Raise and develop consensus on policy issues aimed at addressing inefficiencies in the administration of justice in Uganda.
  5. 5.Explore opportunities presented by informal justice mechanisms, good governance, collaboration and technological advancements in deepening and widening access to justice for all.

 

At least 25 participants are attended a validation and training workshop for Judicial Officers on Judicial enforcement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) at Protea Hotel in Entebbe on 19th - 20th December, 2017. Among the participants are the Judges, Registrars and Magistrates from the different courts in the country.

The two day training that was organized by the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) in collaboration with the United Nations Human Rights office of the High Commissioner (UNOHCHR) aims at enhancing the knowledge of judicial officers in making logical and well thought decisions in ESCR cases.

In his remarks, Hon. Mr. Justice Wilson Masalu Musene urged that the Courts must have the necessary jurisprudence and therefore, the Judicial Officers should equip themselves with skills and knowledge to adequately enforce and make the necessary orders arising from actions emanating from the violation of any such rights.  

Dr. Uchema Emelonye, the country Representative commended the Judicial Training Institute for their continued support.” Our collaboration with the judiciary has yielded fruit” He said and further encouraged that the Judiciary Keep up the Spirit of activism in enforcing ESCR.

 Story by:  Christine Lydia Nabunya

 

 

Validation Workshop for the Draft Report on the Business Process Analysis of the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS) being developed. The purpose of this Workshop is gather input from the relevant Stakeholders in the process of case management in Uganda.

The Judicial Training Institute (JTI) in partnership with UN WOMEN is undertaking a project titled ‘Capacity Strengthening for delivery of Gender Responsive Justice Services in the Uganda Judiciary' . The project aims at creating an enabling legislative and policy environment in line with international standards on EVAW, women’s access to justice and other laws and policies protecting women against other forms of discrimination translated in to action. It will also address the gender gaps in delivering justice with a focus on addressing judicial officers and other justice agencies’ inability to translate gender into concrete benefits for the women. 

 To achieve this aim, one of the key output activities is to train judicial officers and Justice Law and Order actors at the national level from sampled high circuits on the use of the Gender Bench Book(GBB) which was launched in 2016 and other national and international EVAWG legislations.This particular Training will target over 40 High Court Judges and Registrars

 

The Symposium is being organised by the Judicial Training Institute(JTI) together with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) - Africa Programme, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Enforcement Network (HUREF).

The symposium seeks to offer space to legal professionals including judges, prosecutors, legal practitioners, academics and legal aid providers to examine the shortcomings of Uganda's criminal justice system in light of the country's human rights obligations and develop concrete proposals for reform

Over 35 participants including judicial officers took part in a one day training on raising awareness for the Judiciary on asset recovery at the Serena Hotel in Kampala. The training organized by the Judicial Training Institute in conjunction with SUGAR-TAF(strengthening Ugandas Anti-Corruption Response ) was facilitated by Andrew Mitchell QC, the Director Public Prosecution Mike Chibita, Deputy IGG George Bamugemeirere and Lady Justice Margaret Tibulya. 
The training aimed at raising awareness on asset recovery as a corruption fighting mechanism  among selected stake holders including the Judiciary.
SUGAR-TAF programme was established in 2015 under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Uganda and the United Kingdom. SUGAR's aim is to increase the risk of engaging in corruption in the Public sector through a chain linked approach which recognises that no single Institution can address  corruption by itself and that the anti corruption  chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
 
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