What is Pro bono?
The term “Pro Bono” is generally used to describe professional legal aid work under taken voluntarily and without payment or at a low cost to vulnerable or under privileged persons. Pro Bono services in Uganda are premised on the fact that significant proportion of the Ugandan population lives in abject poverty.
Why do Advocates Participate in Pro bono?
Procedures for Handling Pro bono Matters;
What do pro bono services entail?
Under the pro bono regulations, pro bono services require giving free of charge legal services of forty hours in a calendar year to an indigent person. Free legal services may include:
Uganda Law Society Pro Bono Scheme
This is a project based at the Uganda Law society that is responsible for providing administration and coordination of pro bono legal services between indigent persons in need of legal services and advocates that are prepared and able to assist them. The ULS pro bono scheme draws its authority from the Law council which has the mandate to enforce and regulate the provision of legal services in Uganda.
Important to note (Pro bono)
Disbursements, costs Disbursements, costs and awards instruction fees
Advocates should not charge any instructions fees for pro bono work.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, not all areas are covered. Pro bono services cover the following broad professional areas:
- Administrative Law
- Business law in relation to non profit making organisations.
- Child care and protection
- Criminal law
- Debt claims
- Employment and industrial law
- Family and succession law
- Human rights
- Lpurpose.and rights
- Environment and health
- Any other area approved by the law council or a body delegated by the law council for that
For a person to qualify, they must go through an assessment conducted by the Pro bono scheme of the Uganda Law Society. This assessment is known as a means and merit test that is aimed at establishing if the person is indeed indigent by asking them questions about their income and assets. The test also allows the person to explain the nature of the legal problem in order for the scheme to determine if the case has merit.
- An advocate of good standing is required to provide pro bono services free of charge to an indigent person each year.
- The above duty does not apply to advocates who have been suspended or have been placed on the inactive list for incapacity not related to discipline.
By contacting the Uganda law society pro bono scheme offices for enrollment. Once enrolled the ULS will place your name into their database of pro bono advocates. An advocate is considered to have successfully done pro bono work when:
- He or she renders 40 hrs of pro bono work in a calendar year. These 40 hrs are computed by ULS to the handling two files in a calendar year.
- He or she participates in community sensitization drives or campaigns, duty counsel and public interest litigation.
- Case management support to advocates participating in the program.ULS pro bono scheme may be contacted for any inquiries or assistance.
- Continuous specialised training programs in pro bono for advocates.
- Pro bono advocates are paid allowable disbursements and expenses such as court fees, airtime, document production, discovery costs, expert fees, transport and other related costs.