Which authority is competent to make a judicial arrest?


Depending on the situation different persons can be competent to make an arrest.

Arrest with warrant


At any time any magistrate may arrest or direct the arrest of any person in her/his presence. The magistrate must be competent at the time of the arrest, and the arrest must occur within the local limits of her/his jurisdiction.

Police officer

A warrant of arrest may be directed to one or more police officers or chiefs named in it or generally to all police officers or chiefs.

Private person

A warrant can be directed to any person if its immediate execution is necessary and no police officer or chief is immediately available (section 58 sub.2 of the Magistrates courts act).

Arrest without warrant

Police officer

Any police officer may – without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant – arrest any person who:

The person arrested shall be brought – without unnecessary delay – before a magistrate having jurisdiction in the case or a police officer in charge of a police station. However it should be noticed that the Ugandan law does not define “unnecessary delay”.

Officer in charge of a police station

Any officer in charge of a police station may – without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant – arrest or cause to be arrested:

Officers in charge of police stations shall report to the nearest magistrate within 48 hours the cases of all persons arrested without warrant within the limits of their respective stations, whether the persons have been admitted to bail or otherwise.

A police officer on arresting a suspect without a warrant shall produce the suspect before a magistrate’s court within 48 hours, unless earlier released on bond.

Private person

Any private person may arrest any person:

An owner of the property or her/his servants or person she/he authorized may arrest – without a warrant – a person found committing an offence involving injury to her/his property .

The private person shall – without unnecessary delay – bring the person arrested before a police officer, or in the absence of a police officer to the nearest police station. If there is no sufficient reason to believe that the person arrested has committed any offence, she/he shall be released immediately.


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