The High Court of Tanzania (Commercial Court inclusive) is a creature of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. Article 108(i) there of establishes the said High Court. The Commercial Court being a Division of the High Court, is just one of the several Divisions that are to be established. The Commercial Court was established in order to provide a positive climate for investments and install confidence within the business community in the country‚Äôs judicial system. The Commercial Court is intended to resolve disputes of a commercial nature expediently, effectively and efficiently. In order to enable the Commercial Court function, amendments were made to the High Court Registries Rules in 1999, by virtue of GN 141 of 1999. Rule 5A of the said Rules provides as follows:- 5A.
‚ÄúThere shall be a Commercial Division of the High Court within the registry at Dar es Salaam and at any other registry or sub-registry as may be determined by the Chief Justice in which proceedings concerning commercial cases may be instituted.‚ÄĚ It is Rule 5A above which gave birth to the commercial Division of the High Court of Tanzania charged with the adjudication of commercial disputes. It should be pointed out however that this court has no exclusive mandatory jurisdiction to hear and determine commercial dispute. Order IV rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1966 (as amended) provides:- 4. ‚ÄúIt shall not be mandatory for a commercial case to be instituted in the Commercial Division of the High court.‚ÄĚ Thus, a potential commercial litigant has the option of instituting a commercial case either in the Ordinary Registry of the High Court or in the Commercial Division of the High Court.
The Commercial Division of the High Court of Tanzania has appellate jurisdiction since November 2005, by virtue of GN.427/2005. This was done by amending rule 5A of the High Court Registries, rules by redesignating former rule 5A as rule 5A(i) and introducing sub-rule (2) which reads as follows:- ‚Äú(2) The Commercial Division of the High Court shall have both original and appellate jurisdiction over cases of a Commercial Significance.
The Commercial Division of the High Court shall have jurisdiction in a commercial cases in which the value of the claim shall be at least Tshs. 100,000,000/= in case of proceedings for recovery of possession of immovable property and at least Tshs. 70,000,000/= in proceedings where the subject matter is capable of being estimated at a money value. See Rule 5(2) of the High Court (Commercial Division) Procedure Rule, 2012, G.N. 250/2012.
The High Court Commercial Division has territorial jurisdiction over the whole of Tanzania mainland. However, original proceedings in the Court may be instituted either in the Commercial Registry at Dar es Salaam or in the Sub-Registry (if any) for the area in which the cause of action arose or the Defendant resides.