Human Rights

Muwanga Kivumbi v Attorney General (CONSTITUTIONAL APPEAL NO. 06 OF 2011) [2017] UGSC 4 (14 February 2017);


Search Summary: 

This was an appeal from the decision of the Constitutional Court where the appellant was denied costs as a successful litigant.

Counsel for the appellant contended that costs had not been prayed for, but were in the discretion of court to be awarded to a successful party. That the court took into account of wrong principles in the exercise of its discretion, thus its finding that the matter was of public interest, thereby denying the appellant costs.


Counsel for the respondent argued in support of the Constitutional Court’s finding. He argued that the petition had been brought in an individual capacity for the benefit of the entire public as to their freedom of association. Thus, an award of costs was not necessary.


Headnote and Holding: 

Considering the evidence that was on record, it was found that the issue in the petition extended benefit to the whole public by declaring Section 2 of the Police Act unconstitutional, but the suit had been instituted in an individual capacity.

Further, it was found that a case being in the interest of public does not necessarily deprive the petitioner of costs. Thus, costs if awarded in a Public Interest suit must be nominal.


Further, the court found that although the appellant had not prayed for costs, a majority of 3 to 2 justices had awarded cost to him from their submissions.


Accordingly, the court ordered that costs of this court and of the court below be granted.


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