Human Rights Law
Baryamureeba V Kabakonjo Abwooli: A Win For Women’s Property Rights In Cohabitation.
Case Review by Fatumah Ramathan-Nabulya
Marriage, especially at its dissolution, tends to be contentious owing to its cross cutting effects on property rights, children custody, spousal maintenance among others. It is more complex when that “union” is not legally recognized. Over 65% of Uganda’s couples are left out under the law because their arrangements are not contracted in accordance with the laws provided for. This potentially subjects women to unequal social laws (patriarchy) usually with no legal remedies. Hence, marriage, due to its overarching effects, can be breeding ground for the entrenchment of gender inequality. This paper reviews a High Court decision through which judicial activism is employed to lessen the plight of cohabiting women. Due to the time they have been in operation, it is often difficult to see our matrimonial laws for what they really are; patriarchal and gender indiscriminate. There is need for Judges to be fully alive to the history of these laws and the debates that led to their passing, to correct the wrongs of history.