Solicitors governing body: Uganda Law Society
Financial regulator: Capital Markets Authority (CMA)
IFLR1000 ranking categories:
Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire until 1962. The country is a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations, and alongside Swahili, English is an official language. The Republic of Uganda’s legal system is based on English Common Law, and is also influenced by African customary law.
The Uganda Law Society is a member of the East Africa Law Society, which allows for advocates of the courts of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi to practice in Uganda. The nations are considering the adoption of a common legal system in the near future, as well as a shared currency.
There are currently no other agreements that allow foreign nationals to practice in Uganda, however foreign firms are allowed to practice as long as they have local lawyers. Rather than establish their own offices in Kampala, the capital and legal hub, international firms and networks have so far been inclined to establish connections with local firms.
The most notable associations are AF Mpanga of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, MMAKS of the Africa Legal Network and Sebalu & Lule of the DLA Piper Africa Group. A recent development saw Shonubi Musoke & Co form an official alliance with Norton Rose Fulbright.
Following the recent discovery of oil, and recent agreements to begin its removal, there is a lot of work due to come into the East African jurisdiction in the coming years and a lot of large projects in the pipeline. Most of the work for these projects is likely to be handled by large English firms with an African presence, while local teams are contracted for the local aspects.
ABMAK has acted on a range of notable deals during the research period including a number of energy and infrastructure projects in the oil and gas and hydropower areas.
Deal highlights including acting for the sponsors on the Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline, work for the RT-Global Resources consortium on the Uganda Oil Refinery project and work for Africa Renewable Energy Fund as the sponsors on the Achwa, Bugoye and Kikagati hydropower projects.
AF Mpanga is one of the highest profile Ugandan firms and has links to both Lex Mundi and the Bowmans network.
The firm has been particularly active in the M&A space during the research period. Highlights include work for Sanlam Emerging Markets Proprietary on the acquisition of a 60% stake in Pinebridge East Africa, work for Vegol in the acquisition of Mukono Industries and work for Kadic Hospital in the acquisition of Victoria Hospital.
Other key clients include the likes of China Export Import Bank, Lycamobile, NIC Bank and Vegol.
ENSafrica has one of the widest networks across Africa with a number of offices across the sub-Saharan region.
Deal highlights include work for DEG and Proparco on the sale of shares in TPS Uganda, work for the Central Bank of Uganda on the introduction of Islamic finance structured in Uganda and work for Emirates NBD Capital on a loan to Stanbic Bank Uganda.
The firm made a number of staffing changes during the research period with the hire of a team from MMAKS Advocates including partners Phillip Karugaba, Rachel Musoke, Maliza Kwera, Rehema Ssemyalo and senior associate Sheila Ann Pacuto.
“I found the firm extremely grounded on corporate finance. I was particularly impressed at how the firm handled a cross border transaction on our behalf involving three countries and got the deal across the line quite seamlessly. Their insolvency and recovery practice is also impressive especially out of the South African office." – Banking and finance
“ENSafrica (Uganda) is very responsive and generally helpful in finding commercial solutions to issues on deals.” – Real estate finance
“Quite responsive and takes time to listen to the client's needs.”
KSMO - Kigozi Ssempala Mukasa Obonyo has been active during the research period on fund formation matters, company establishment, oil and gas contracts and a number of securitisations. Deal details are confidential.
"Strengths: Very responsive, attention to detail, professionalism, commitment and SME focused. Overall I highly recommend this firm." – M&A
“Flexibility, responsive, professional and has a solution based approach to legal practice.”
Mukumbya Musoke Advocates is an independent law firm offering financial and corporate legal services. It has a particular focus on project development, financing and M&A. The firm was established in April 2016.
The work disclosed to us included a heavy focus on hydropower projects, and also included some real estate and infrastructure projects. As well as a full project development offering, it assists with financing arrangements and M&A.
Notable clients included the African Development Bank, FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.
"The lawyers were extremely professional, provided us the best service and advise. We successfully concluded the deal.” – Private equity
"Experienced and knowledgeable partner Julius Musoke has relevant project finance experience and provides adequate, practice-oriented advice with efficient response times. Reasonable and flexible approach concerning fees. No apparent weakness, but the rather small legal market often does not seem to allow for meaningful determination of local market practice in specialist areas.”
“Very detail oriented. High integrity. We could relax through the difficult ordeal because we trusted that he had our best interest and represented us very well. He also gave us very good advice on issues we hadn't even thought about. We received well rounded legal advice and support.
Shonubi Musoke & Co is one of Uganda’s leading firms securing top tier rankings in both of our ranking tables.
Deal highlights include work for the lenders on financing provided to Rift Valley Railways to finance new wagons, work for Umeme on a number of a new credit facilities, work for Leapfrog Investments on the acquisition of the Mauritius subsidiary of African Chemist and Beauty Care and work for Di Frontier Carbon Fund on the development of a number of hydropower power plants.