The Need for a Review of Plea Bargaining in Uganda: A Reflection on the Experiences under Common Law and in South Africa

Authors Robert Doya Nanima

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 4 Issue 1, p. 24 – 44


Plea bargaining under common law is not new to Uganda’s criminal justice system. It is, however, not provided for in any statutes. In addition, it is widely used by the various institutions in the criminal justice system. Its inadequacy in dealing with Uganda’s case backlog is evident in the use of various initiatives like ‘Quick Wins’ and the ‘Community Service Project’, which reflect the inefficiency of the current plea-bargaining system, and the lack of adequate participation by the accused in the process. First, this article evaluates the plea-bargaining regime in Uganda. Secondly, it uses insights from experiences under common law and in South Africa. Thirdly, it proposes a working framework that may improve plea bargaining in Uganda. The terms ‘plea bargaining’ and ‘plea and sentence agreement’ are used interchangeably to refer to the same concept.