Uganda National Legislation Collection

30 June 2021, by Mariya Badeva-Bright

The Uganda Law Reform Commission completed the last official revision and consolidation of the Laws of Uganda in the early 2000s. It updated legislation up to and including 31 December 2001. This digital version of the Laws of Uganda is widely available and used in Uganda and abroad, despite being 20 years out of date. Legislation users could not have reliably known that since the early 2000s, there have been over 1250 commencements, amendments and new enactments to Uganda laws.

In early 2020 Laws.Africa partnered with the Uganda Legal Information Institute (ULII; www.ulii.org), a project of the Judiciary of Uganda based in Kampala, to digitise and update the Laws of Uganda 2000.

We’re excited to announce the outputs of this effort. A selection of 98 Acts and 8 Statutory Instruments are now up-to-date and available, for free, at www.ulii.org.

The year-long project involved hunting down and digitising mouldy gazettes scattered across Kampala, reading hundreds of notices to identify amendments and other notices, and finally bringing the 2000 consolidation up to date. Laws.Africa’s gazette and legislation technology made this process simpler and faster. Read more about the work that went into the Uganda project in our blog post.

From 2000 to 2021

The process of sourcing, assembling, reading, and understanding the amendments and repeals affecting the 2000 consolidation is complex and time-consuming. ULII partnered with Laws.Africa because our gazette and legislation technology makes this process significantly easier and faster, and produces high quality, re-usable, machine-readable output.

ULII selected a list of 98 Acts and 8 Statutory Instruments dealing with the administration of justice, finance, labour, family and succession, taxation and land. The list was settled with the help of Judges’ input and taking into account ULII website usage patterns.

Finding 20 years of Uganda Gazettes

The next step involved the scanning of 20 years worth of the Uganda Gazette. From February 2020 to February 2021, amidst several COVID-19 lockdowns, the ULII team crisscrossed law libraries in Kampala to collate and scan the Uganda Gazette’s first and only freely available digital collection. The team encountered mouldy and dusty paper archives, often incomplete, sometimes unscannable.

Their best effort to recreate a complete record of the Uganda Gazette, including supplements, is now openly available to the public on ULII Gazettes and Gazettes.Africa, totalling 1460 gazettes. The Laws.Africa team helped to digitise, “stitch” together, catalogue, and index this collection. We also helped identify the gaps that ULII will focus on scanning next.

In the space of only a few months, the editorial team at Laws.Africa digitised, updated, and published the only fully updated digital and freely available collection of Uganda legislation. The collection is not only reliable, it is also a pleasure to read and work with.

You may read, use and re-use the revised Laws of Uganda on ULII.org. Over 130,000 people have already done so since the first publication in March 2021.

Photo essay

ULII scanned over 1400 gazettes Uganda scanning (1).png

Laws.Africa purchased a CZUR book scanner for ULII. ULII’s Eunice Logose is photographed here scanning gazettes at the Judicial Training Institute of Uganda.

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This is the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002 as we found and scanned it at the library of the Law Development Centre. The pages show signs of overuse. Amendments are pasted as stickers pointing to gazetted legislation stored on another shelf. See the original scan

The digital Elections Act Elections Act.png

Laws.Africa’s revised legislation incorporates all amendments to legislation, richly annotated and supplemented with links to the gazetted versions of amendment acts. The historical, or point-in-time, versions of legislation are also available to users, free of charge. See version on ULII

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Some of the oldest Acts digitised date back to 1902. We are now also able to track the rate of amendments applied to legislation contained in the Grey book.

A Glossary of legal terms for Uganda glossary2.png

We are also now able to read the legislated meaning of over 1900 legal terms and phrases in Uganda. Defined terms in the Grey Book are marked up, making the creation of this Glossary possible. Read more about the technology behind the glossary in our blog post here.

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