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Court Upholds Suspension of Two Bailiffs

In his Judgement, Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that the Judicature court bailiff Rules give the Chief Registrar regulatory powers over the bailiffs as the appointing authority.
The Civil Division of the High Court has upheld a decision to suspend two court bailiffs accused of selling off land in error.

Amelia Nakiryowa and Moses Wandera were in September suspended by the Chief Registrar for one year after they were found guilty of selling off a piece of land-Kibanja in Kabawo zone, Mutundwe, Rubaga Division Kampala belonging to Edison Kiwanuka.

The bailiffs were settling a land matter between Edward Wasswa and George Luzinda when they erroneously sold Kiwanuka's land.

The two bailiffs however appealed the Chief registrar's decision saying that they weren't given a fair hearing. They said that the chief registrar based on the recommendation of the Bailiffs Licensing and Disciplinary Committee.

Through their lawyer, Daniel Ssemanda, the two bailiffs said that the committee on whose recommendation the Chief registrar suspended them is not constitutional and that has no place in the Judicature (Court Bailiff) Rules which govern court bailiffs.

However, Samuel Kakande who represented Kiwanuka said the committee was legally constituted. He also said that the two bailiffs were accorded a fair hearing and were invited and partly participated in the investigations by the committee.

According to Kakande, they declined to participate in some hearings and a decision was taken in the matter when they had declined to attend.

In his Judgement, Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that the Judicature court bailiff Rules give the Chief Registrar regulatory powers over the bailiffs as the appointing authority.

"To achieve the purpose of the law there is established the Bailiffs Licensing and Disciplinary Committee. When an authority is clothed with powers to regulate an activity the court looks carefully to ensure that they are within the policy and object" ruled Justice Ssekaana.

He adds that the Chief Registrar as the appointing authority has the mandate to look into the affairs of bailiffs and exercise disciplinary control over bailiffs as a regulator.

Justice Ssekaana ruled that the dominant purpose, in this case, is to license bailiffs and ensure that all comply with professional rules and the non-dominant is to discipline which is implied.

"It would defeat logic if the regulator is not clothed with disciplinary powers over the regulated. Needless to say, the appellants whose licenses were suspended were issued by the same committee which they never challenged its existence when it came to issuing the license only sought to challenge its legality when it came to disciplining them" ruled Justice Ssekaana before dismissing the appeal.