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UCLS to Support Access to Justice Through Pro Bono Services :: Uganda Radionetwork

UCLS to Support Access to Justice Through Pro Bono Services

He adds that the society is also deliberate in advocating for social justice on matters affecting Uganda's society as a whole, whenever the need arises. It is estimated that Uganda's access to justice levels are below 20 percent, due to a combination of factors, legal services affordability inclusive.
06 Dec 2023 08:24

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The Uganda Catholic Lawyers’ Society (UCLS) has unveiled a comprehensive one-year work plan for 2024 aimed at enhancing access to justice in the country by introducing Pro Bono legal services. UCLS, a collective of legal practitioners professing the Roman Catholic faith, includes advocates from private and government sectors, as well as judicial officers across all levels.   

Nicholas Ecimu, the President of UCLS, outlined the association's strategic objectives, rooted in its articles of association and governance principles. "Our strategic roadmap aligns with our organization's objectives, embedded in our articles of association and governance principles. We aim to showcase our collective legal talent," he emphasized.

Ecimu highlighted that instituting Pro Bono legal services aims to address the justice gap caused by financial constraints. "By offering Pro Bono services, we aim to narrow the gap, ensuring fair representation for all," he stated. To execute this initiative, UCLS plans to hire permanent legal staff for its secretariat, enabling the provision of Pro Bono services through a legal aid clinic.

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The work plan, inaugurated by Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere of Kampala Diocese, also emphasizes the promotion of professional and ethical standards among society members. "We were not called to be money-makers; we have been called to be lawyers. When we serve well, money will follow. As Catholic lawyers, being ethical is non-negotiable. We are the light and salt of the legal profession,” he affirmed.

Moreover, UCLS is committed to advocating for social justice on broader societal issues affecting Uganda. Current estimates suggest that the country's access to justice stands below 20 percent, partly due to financial limitations in accessing legal services. During the work plan's launch at Archbishop Ssemogerere's residence in Lubaga, he pledged unwavering support and active participation in its implementation. 

He stressed the legal fraternity's role in supporting the church across various levels. “The church is always grateful to you for your generosity, we have approached you not just Kampala, but all the different levels of administration of the church starting from the sub-parishes, seeking not only your professional help but also your assistance from your pockets, and many of you have been giving to us generously, and we can’t take that for granted because you are Catholics,” he said. 

This proactive approach underscores the society's dedication to professional development, faith-sharing, and collaboration with other entities to significantly impact access to justice nationwide.

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