Mabirizi v Attorney General

In this judgment of Uganda’s highest court, seven justices of the Supreme Court taught counsel a crucial lesson: Keep your affidavits short! The justices had to deal with a challenge to an earlier constitutional court decision and were unhappy with the length of papers filed in the case – the affidavits and supplementary affidavits both in support of the appeal and in reply. Both sets were “argumentative and prolix”, they said, adding:

“Prolixity is defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary, Ninth Edition at page 1331 as “The unnecessary and superfluous stating of facts and legal argument in pleading or evidence.”

The court went on to strike out the affidavits as “prolix” and thus non-compliant with court rules. As a result, there was no competent application before the court. The application was thus dismissed with no order as to costs.

  • Newsletter, Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa), 14 February 2019