Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 102


Civil jurisdiction of the high court of the United Republic of Tanzania: A critical comment on the amendment made by Act no. 25 of 2002 and its impact on the pecuniary jurisdiction of the High Court

Marwa Maridadi Phanuel
Department of Labour Studies, Institute of Social Work, Dar es Salaam Tanzania. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 September 2011
  •  Published: 30 March 2012


There have been debates on the bench and bar on the civil jurisdiction of the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, particularly the pecuniary jurisdiction. On the bench, the debates have been developed by the Honorable Judges of the Court itself. The basis of the debates is the amendments brought by Act No. 25 of 2002, the written laws (miscellaneous amendments) Act, which, inter alia, amended the Magistrates Courts’ Act of 1984 by raising the pecuniary jurisdiction of subordinate courts (district and resident magistrates’ courts). Both the court and members of the bar have interpreted the provisions of the amending law in two different ways. There are those who argue that the High Court is ousted of its jurisdiction to hear cases whose pecuniary value is below shillings 100,000,000/= while others argue that the court has unlimited jurisdiction and therefore its pecuniary jurisdiction is not affected by the amendments brought by Act No. 25 of 2002. This paper considers whether the relevant provisions of law are properly interpreted in determining the pecuniary jurisdiction of the High Court. By way of research methodology, the author made use of secondary sources of information which involves a review of law dictionaries, text books, statutes, commentaries of prominent law scholars, cases, both reported and unreported, and other related materials in the course of writing this review article. After making a thorough analysis of the materials employed, the author submits that the amendments brought by Act No. 25 of 2002 did not intend to oust the jurisdiction of the High Court rather they were meant to set a ceiling on subordinate courts’ pecuniary jurisdiction. Since the said amendments do not expressly take away the jurisdiction of the High Court, then they should not be interpreted as so doing.


Key words: Civil, pecuniary, jurisdiction, High Court, Tanzania, amendment, Act, impact.