The Commercial Case Law Index is a collection of judgments from African countries on topics relating to commercial legal practice. The collection aims to provide a snapshot of commercial legal practice in a country, rather than present solely traditionally "reportable" cases. The index currently covers 400 judgments from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
Get started on finding judgments that are relevant to you by browsing the topic list on the left of the screen. Click the arrows next to the topic names to reveal a detailed list of sub-topics. Most judgments are accompanied by a short summary written by subject-matter expert postgraduate students from the University of Cape Town.
The applicant in this application sought for an order staying the execution of the
judgment of the court of appeal until the determination of the appeal to this court, and
that costs of the application be provided for.
The background to this application is that the applicant filed against the respondent seeking to recover US$75,000, as payment made in error under a guarantee, interest and costs. The respondent counter-claimed for US$31,767 being the balance owed by the applicant on the guarantee, general damages for breach of the contract of guarantee, interest and costs.
The issue in contention was whether the plaintiff having represented to the defendant that it was entitled to a payment and even made part payment was barred by estoppels from claiming a refund of monies paid to the defendant after the failure of the third-party to make good on its obligations to the plaintiff.
It was held that a court can only exercise the discretion to grant a stay of execution if there are special circumstances and good cause to justify a stay. The inability of the victorious party to be able to refund the decremental amount in the event of a successful appeal is one of such special circumstances if proved.
The court held that the applicant failed to adduce any evidence to show that the respondent will not be able to restore it to the status quo ante if its appeal succeeded. Also, the deponent should have gone a step further to lay the basis upon which the court could make a finding that the applicant would have suffered substantial loss as alleged. The applicant should have gone beyond the vague and generalised assertion of substantial loss in the event a stay order is not granted. It is against this background that the court dismissed the application.
This was an application seeking orders for an interim stay of execution and/or enforcement of the decree and judgment of a civil suit pending the hearing and determination of the application; on grounds that there was a prima facie case on appeal and its essentiality for safeguarding the applicant’s right to appeal.
The respondents raised a preliminary objection to the application on grounds that it was not properly before the court. The court observed that it was more ideal for the High Court to first determine such applications on their own merits and for the Court of Appeal to do so only when the application is substantive in content and form and in special and rare circumstances: if the High Court refuses to accept its jurisdiction, or refuses jurisdiction on wrong reasons, or there is great delay.
The court was satisfied that the applicant failed to demonstrate special or rare circumstances for not making this application in the High Court first since there was no evidence of a formal application for stay or a follow up letter on the application. Accordingly, the court allowed the preliminary objection by counsel for the respondent and dismissed the application with an order to costs.