Newsletter: Evolve in 2018

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2018 was an incredible year for Evolve. Our newsletter, Evolve in 2018, takes an in-depth look at our activities and achievements in 2018, which would not have been possible without your support, including:

  • In January 2018, Evolve came together with the entire Judiciary of Uganda, as well as other key stakeholders in the criminal justice system, for a national sentencing conference, which took place as part of the 20th Annual Judges’ Conference in Kampala.
  • Evolve in conjunction with Mrs Justice McGowan have comprehensively reviewed the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing ’Guidelines and have provided their feedback to the Sentencing Committee of Uganda. It is hoped that the Magistrates’ Court Guidelines will be formally launched later this year. Judge O’Callaghan and the Evolve team have also worked on drafting a case digest for the offences of murder and manslaughter, using Evolve’s research done prior to and after the conference.
  • In April 2018,  Lord Alton of Liverpool, a patron of Evolve and Vice Chairman of the All Party Group on Uganda invited Justice Gadenya (Head of Judiciary Projects) and Andrew Khaukha (Technical Advisor to the Judiciary) to the House of Lords. During Justice Gadenya and Andrew Khaukha’s visit to London, they met with members of the Evolve team and the Sentencing Council of England and Wales.
  • With the support of ROLE UK, Tanya Murshed visited Uganda in June 2018 to discuss how Evolve can support the judiciary attain the goals agreed at the meeting following the 20th Annual Judges’ Conference in Kampala. During the course of this trip, Evolve discussed the formalisation of the partnership with the judiciary of Uganda and a draft Memorandum of Understanding was prepared. It is hoped that the Memorandum of Understanding will be ratified later this year.
  • In 2018, Tanya was invited to sit on the judging panel for the Bar Pro Bono Awards alongside 12 others judges including Lord Goldsmith QC (Founder of ‘Advocate’ formerly known as the Bar Pro Bono Unit), Lord Burnett (Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales) and Andrew Walker QC (Chair of the Bar) in 2018.
  • As part of Global Pro Bono Week, Tanya Murshed took part in a panel discussion at the Law Society on ‘Upholding the Rule of Law Overseas Through International Pro Bono’. The event, which took place on 25 October 2018 was run by the National Pro Bono Centre and was chaired by Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society of England and Wales. Other panel members were the Chief Executive of Care International and the Chair of Advocates for International Development. Tanya spoke about her award-winning work with Evolve, the factors that help contribute to the success of rule of law work abroad and the various challenges with international pro bono work, including the lack of funding. Organisations and individuals across the international pro bono sector took part in this round-table discussion, where there was a focus on ways to maximise the expertise and resources within the UK judicial and legal sector.
  • In November 2018, Evolve met with the Judicial Services Commission at the Royal Courts of Justice to discuss their respective areas of work, the possibility of sharing research and future collaboration.
  • On 24 November 2018, Marianne Alton, won Advocate’s ‘Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year’ award which was presented at the Annual and Young Bar Conference. Marianne’s award was based on her exceptional dedication to access to justice in Uganda.
  • In November 2018, with the support of ROLE UK, Tanya Murshed, Marianne Alton and Alex Bennie visited Uganda to progress Evolve’s projects with the Ugandan Judiciary, including a Training and Mentoring Scheme for lawyers and judges and a study visit to the UK by the Ugandan Sentencing Committee. During the month long assignment, the team engaged with members of the judiciary to plan and discuss various initiatives. Evolve produced a concept note and developed a detailed proposal for a pilot training and mentoring scheme with the input of the various stakeholders, which was considered by JTI’s Governing Council. The pilot is due to begin later this year. Evolve carried out further research on sentencing to bring our data up to date and engaged with ULII to see how case sharing and case reporting can be improved.
  • Over the last few years, Liam Loughlin and other Evolve barristers including Tanya Murshed and Jacqueline Lule have assisted Naveed Ahmed by providing legal advice, drafting written submissions and supporting his lawyer with oral arguments at court. On 17 November 2017, the appeal of Naveed and his co-defendants was allowed by the Court of Appeal on various grounds, including the fact that they had not been accorded a fair trial at the High Court. In the final development in this case, Naveed Ahmed, and all of his co-defendants, have now been released. The prosecution offered no evidence at his retrial at the High Court.
  • As a wonderful start to 2019, the last five civilian Kigula cases have progressed to near resolution. Since 2013, Evolve’s barristers have facilitated the re-sentencing process of beneficiaries of the Susan Kigula case in special mitigation sessions involving 275 individuals. During the November-December assignment, Evolve advocated for the five remaining Kigula cases to be listed and assisted their lawyers, Onyango and Company, with written submissions. After spending years on death row under the mandatory death sentence provisions (found to be unconstitutional in Kigula) and a further 10 years since the Kigula judgment to be re-sentenced, William Okwang and Magala Bampalana received sentences which resulted in their immediate release, on account of time already served. The ruling in the other three cases, which involve mental health issues, will be later this month. Marianne Alton, Richard English and Rachel Cooper from Lincoln House Chambers and Alex Chakmakjian and Gwawr Thomas of 1MCB Chambers prepared the written submissions in these cases.
  • We would like to give special thanks to ROLE UK for supporting our activities with the judiciary and assignments in Uganda over the last year. We are immensely grateful and look forward to working with ROLE UK in 2019 and beyond.
  • We would also like to thank and recognise all of the individual donors who supported Evolve in 2018, including:
    • David Stephenson
    • Rehana Murshed
    • Yasreeb Zahed
    • Nabila Hasan
    • Javed Khan
    • Nadia and Roger Barb
    • Maniza Zaman
    • Farida and Shafiq Khan
    • Altamash Hasan
    • Nayaz Hasan
    • Mary Ruck
    • Donors through JustGiving
    • John Benson QC
    • Douglas Cochran of King’s Chambers for his incredibly generous donation, our largest individual donation to date!
  • The entire Evolve team gives their expert assistance free of charge, and your invaluable donations go directly to our running costs.We hope that we can count on your support in 2019 to help us achieve our goals of improving access to justice, building capacity within the legal profession, and promoting fairness, efficiency and integrity in the criminal justice system of Uganda. If you would like to find out more about the ways you can get involved, please get in touch at contact@evolvefila.org. To stay updated on Evolve’s news this year, please follow us on twitter @Evolve_FILA.