Non-Justiciability of Religious Disputes: A Ugandan Case Note

In a guest post, Mark Hill looks at an interesting judgment from Uganda on the limits of the secular courts’ jurisdiction over the internal affairs of Churches.

Archbishop of Uganda v Joyce and others HC-17-CV-CS-0034-2023, a first-instance decision of the High Court of Uganda delivered at Luwero on 25 October 2023 in which the Hon. Justice Dr Flavian Zeija delivered a short but significant ruling, is likely to be of interest to scholars of law and religion and to readers of this blog in particular.

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Uganda met on 3 April 2023 and elected the Reverend Canon Godfrey Kasana as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Luwero (sometimes spelt Luweero) and resolved to have the consecration and enthronement on Sunday 16 July 2023 at St Mark’s Cathedral, Luwero.

On 8 May 2023, prior to the scheduled consecration, a petition to nullify the election was submitted to The Most Reverend Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, Archbishop of Uganda. The petition alleged that Canon Kasansa was unworthy of episcopal office, being a serial adulterer, and having fathered at least one child outside marriage. Continue reading