Message from the Dean
Since its launch in 1998, the Faculty of Law has grown in stature and size and has witnessed one of the fastest growing student populations over time. From only 25 students admitted in 1998, the Faculty's cumulative enrolment currently stands at 943 students. The Faculty is now a leading law school in Uganda as Uganda's Director of Public Prosecution, Justice Mike Chibita, noted at a recent function.
The success and good reputation of the Law Faculty is built on the work and performance of its lecturers, students and alumni. In particular, seven core commitments make the Faculty to stand out. These are commitment to quality; commitment to innovation; commitment to service; commitment to scholarship; commitment to student excellence; commitment to Christian integrity and ethical development; and commitment to collaboration.
Commitment to Quality
The Faculty of Law is dedicated to quality; it strives to keep its curriculum up to date and its library well stocked with relevant and up to date law literature. New courses that mirror current global trends, are occasionally added into the law curriculum. This is done with the focus of ensuring that our law graduates are quality products that can easily fit into the legal profession. Recent additions into the curriculum include Oil & Gas Law, and ICT Law.
Commitment to Innovation
The Faculty of Law has proved to be a leader in innovative approaches to legal education in Uganda. It was the first institution of legal education to establish pre-entry examinations for first year law students. The Faculty has also proved a leader in the establishment of specialized Masters Programs in law. Evidence of this includes the recently launched LL.M in International Business Law as well as an LL.M Program in Oil & Gas Law and the soon to be launched LL.M in International Energy Law. The Faculty of Law is also spearheading the teaching of Intellectual Property law through a unified curriculum for all law schools in Uganda through a partnership with the University of Ottawa, Canada and the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Commitment to Service
The Clinical Legal Education Programme
Through its clinical legal education programme, the Faculty of Law has engaged its students in projects that benefit the wider community. Uganda Christian University Clinical Legal Education Programme started in May of 2009. The Programme is open to fourth-year law students who enroll in the two-semester Clinical Legal Education class sequence. It provides law students with unique opportunities to engage in practical action learning. It utilizes partnerships with national and international organizations to create and facilitate service opportunities. The Programme enables students to perform the functions of an advocate in a manner consistent with Christian principles and mission
Clinical service activities include school sensitization; general community sensitizations; community justice leader training workshops through the "Justice River Uganda" initiative; partner activities with International Justice Mission; partner activities with Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity; and partner activities with Land Equity Movement Uganda. Below some of these activities are explained in greater detail.
The Justice River Uganda initiative is founded in the belief that community sensitization efforts make the broadest impact on civil society when they are directed at community leaders who can use their training in leadership and share their training with the broader community. The Initiative offers community leaders short training modules within a multi-day workshop format. Justice River training modules cover practical topics including: local council courts, will write and the laws of succession, land law, and alternative dispute resolution.
The Clinical Legal Education Programme partners with International Justice Mission (IJM), a Christian-based human rights organization that takes on legal causes grounded in Biblical calls for justice. IJM's Uganda Field Office focuses its legal efforts on combating the scourge of property grabbing that affects widows and orphans in Mukono District. IJM has trained Law students in assisting with will writing clinics and client intake interviews. UCU law students also assisted IJM with a structural change effort that sought to introduce a new organised approach to file management within the Mukono Magistrate Court in 2013.
Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF) is an association of Christian lawyers dedicated to Christian fellowship and fostering Christian integrity among Christian members of the Bar. One of the key activities of UCLF in Uganda is the representation of indigent inmates in the Uganda prison system. UCU law students assist UCLF with the representation of both adult and juveniles indigent defendants by conducting client interviews, preparing client files and conducting factual investigations and legal research.
Land Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) has been a clinical partner of UCU for several years. The faculty's project work with LEMU consists of assisting LEMU with the mediation of land disputes in Northern and Eastern Uganda.
Commitment to Scholarship
The Faculty of Law is committed to scholarship and through this avenue has so far awarded two of its full-time faculty members (Brian Kalenge and Anthony Kakooza) doctoral degrees in law beginning 2014. The expectation is a similar award to two additional full-time faculty members in the near future. Former acting Dean, Dr. Asa Mugenyi, a returning faculty member, also benefited from a similar scholarship.
Commitment to Student Excellence
Enhanced Admissions Process
Its commitment to student excellence resulted in the introduction of an enhanced admissions process for its students. Since 2009 the Faculty of Law has conducted interviews and a supplemental testing process to better ensure that its incoming students are equipped for the study of law at Uganda Christian University.
Participation in National, Regional and International moot Competitions
The Faculty of Law also gives its students opportunities to prove their excellence while they attend Uganda Christian University. One of the best examples of such a platform is the Faculty of Law's Moot Court Programme. Mooting is a simulated legal argument competition. It provides students with the opportunity to test their mettle against law students from other universities.
In recent years, moot teams from Uganda Christian University have performed exceptionally well in national competitions. They have won Uganda's International Humanitarian Law Moot each of the last four years. In the 2013-14 academic year they also won the Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity Moot and the National Constitutional Law Moot.
UCU's moot teams have also competed well on the international level. In the last five years its teams have competed in India, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mozambique, Rwanda, Kenya and the Gambia. UCU has represented Uganda in the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition each of the last six years and finished as the top team from Africa in 2013. A team from UCU finished second in Africa in the Pan-African Intentional Humanitarian Law Moot in 2012 and another team finished as the top performer from East Africa in the 2011 African Human Rights Moot.
Donations to Excelling Students
The Faculty has enjoyed monetary donations from various leading Law professionals going towards outstanding students. Professor Dr. George Wilson Kanyeihamba (Retired Justice of the Supreme Court) and Justice Kenneth Kakuru have individually contributed an award to the best graduating student of the faculty for three and four years respectively. The award was subsequently adopted and taken over by UCU Law Alumni Association
Commitment to Christian Integrity and Ethical Development
The Faculty of Law seeks to produce graduates "with a difference." Law students at Uganda Christian University are exposed to required courses in Bible and Ethics. Moreover, emphasis is placed on integrating matters of faith, character and integrity into all of the courses taught by the Faculty of Law.
The impact on our graduates and alumni has been palpable. Legal and business professionals confirm that our law graduates are recognized and appreciated for their commitment to moral integrity. The reputation of our graduates helps them in the marketplace as employers are looking for employees that will "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8). Such graduates are not just employable. They are also crucial to the development of Uganda.
- Mr. Brian Dennison, Interim Manager, Institute of Faith, Learning and Service.
Commitment to Collaboration
The Faculty has noteworthy partnerships with law schools from several international universities. The Faculty is currently exploring a partnership with the University of Illinois (U.S.A) to establish an Intellectual Property Law and Technology law Centre. The Faculty collaborated with Regent Law School (USA) to become the first law faculty in Uganda to host an American Bar Association approved study abroad programme for American law students. The Faculty has partnered with Pepperdine University's School of Law (USA) on breakthrough justice initiatives in Uganda. These include work on the first plea-bargaining initiative in Uganda (involving juvenile defendants) and assisting in the first adult plea-bargaining session in Uganda.
The Faculty has partnered with several other organizations through its Clinical Legal Education Programme including International Justice Mission (IJM), Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF), Joni & Friends International and Land Equity Movement Uganda (LEMU). It has active Memorandums of Understanding in place with several of its clinical partners.
The collaborative activities of the Faculty of Law are not limited to outside institutions. The Faculty is presently working with the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity on some exciting projects that marry theology and law. These projects include the development of a new course for divinity students entitled "Law for Ministry in Uganda" and the launch of a "justice sermon" initiative where divinity students preach justice-related messages and law students conduct legal intake interviews after the sermons.
Publication and Research
In terms of academic production, the Faculty is about to publish its third edition of the Uganda Christian University Law Review. In addition faculty members recently published the first legal ethics textbook in Uganda: "Legal Ethics and Professionalism. A Handbook for Uganda. (2014) D. Brian Dennison/Pamela Tibihikirra-Kalyegira (eds). ISBN 978-2-88931-010-4- Globethics.net Africa Law 2". The book was edited by faculty members and features nine chapters written by UCU law lecturers.
The Way Forward
The Faculty of Law is looking to the future. With maturity will come new programmes and a more extensive research footprint. With its mission approach to the law, the Faculty's positive impact on the lives of Ugandans will most assuredly continue.
In January 2015, the Faculty of Law rolled out its Master of Law (LLM) programme. In addition, the Faculty - under the leadership of Lecturer Peter Mutesasira - introduced an LLM in Oil and Gas Law in the March 2015. As Faculty members attain more qualifications and experience, the research impact of the Faculty of Law is certain to increase. Recent doctoral recipients like Anthony Kakooza, Brian Kalenge and Asa Mugenyi, bring a passion for research and writing that is certain to bear considerable fruit. Other Faculty members, such as Brian Dennison, Peter Mutesasira, Moses Mulumba and Godard Busingye, are currently pursuing their Doctoral degrees in Law.
Finally, the religious and moral compass of the Faculty will guide it to be a difference maker in the lives of Ugandans. The Faculty is already making its mark in terms of public service through its Clinical Legal Education Programme. The Faculty takes God's "heart for justice" seriously. As a result, it will continue to look for opportunities to improve access to justice and structural accountability within the justice sector. The Faculty is confident that funding resources will be made available to grow such initiatives going forward.
The Faculty appreciates the tremendous contributions of its leadership including former Deans Professor Ntambirweki, Justice Professor Lillian Tibatemwa, acting Dean Dr. Asa Mugenyi, Associate Professor George W.K.L. Kasozi, Dr. Pamela Tibihikirra-Kalyegira and Interim Manager – Institute of Faith, Learning and Service and previously acting Dean Brian Dennison, as well as long-standing Lecturer Godard Busingye.