The Minister for Justice has urged members of the Bar Association to maintain the high ethical standards demanded of their profession.
The Minister made the remarks during a meeting to examine the role of advocates in national development.
“Don’t ditch ethics and professionalism to the benefit of rogue clients. Laws, decrees and directives are all designed to help us reach to that destiny, you constitute a strong pillar in that process,” he said.
“Instead we should give them a fair trial, ensure presumption of innocence till the verdict and a chance to cross examine facts.”
Busingye further reiterated the crucial role of drafting legislation in line with the government’s ambitious journey towards sustainable development.
The Minister pointed out that the legal fraternity had come a long way and it was now time to position itself in bringing more constructive changes.
Busingye challenged them to draft laws that will make it very costly to commit crimes, especially those related to graft.
There is need to create an environment that represses offenses at the same time ensuring efficient services delivery to clients, he said.
The chairperson of the Bar Association Julien Kavaruganda, said every lawyer had to participate in the conversation of better contract management and ensure efficient deliverables in the implementation of agreements.
“The lawyers’ role is to advice clients, every time they give a legal opinion, they have to ensure they are helping in the economic growth and development of the country. They are not doing it for free, they are paid for the service,” he said.
Kavaruganda also called for an organised working environment that promotes efficiency through partnerships.
He insisted on strengthening professional skills; language skills to be able to assist the country in negotiations of international investments contracts and developing cross-border legal practice to enable practice beyond the country’s borders.
On the other hand lawyers assured their support but called on the government to ease some conditions that were hindering the practice.
“We would want the government’s advocacy to allow young and practicing lawyers take on high profile cases, mostly those involving big public institutions, since only lawyers over seven years experience are entrusted to handle such cases,” said Henriette Murekatete.
Robert Ssali, another legal practitioner talked of the need for timely delivery of justice.
“To be able to provide good services to our clients, we would like to urge assurance of time management especially in courts, because the tradition has been that people wait long for judges to start trial proceedings citing reasons of backlog of cases,” added Ssali.
Lawyers on the other hand challenged themselves to adopt new methods of fast-tracking cases through the use of ICT and new technologies like the ‘Integrated Electronic Case Management System’ (IECMS).
Busingye promised to see how the government could open space for young lawyers to handle high profile cases but urged the legal practitioners to ditch traditional ways of handling cases and comply with new and modern systems.