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 plaintiff instituted an action against the defendant to recover a sum of money owed to the plaintiff for the construction of a television complex constructed by the plaintiff on the defendant’s premises. The defendant submitted a counterclaim.
The court was faced with a number of issues to resolve, namely: whether the deed of variation entered into by the parties was void for illegality; whether the plaintiff breached he contract; whether the plaintiff is entitled to any remedies and whether the defendant is entitled to their counter claim.
The court held that (i) the deed of variation was enforceable; (ii) the plaintiff was not in breach of contract; (iii) the counter claim by the defendant must fail and that the plaintiff was entitled to remedies for the sum withheld.
The court relied on existing legislation to distinguish between variation and amendment- the former dealt with changes in the contract relating to the price, completion date or statement of requirements of the contract and the latter related to changes in terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The court relied on witness testimonies from which it determined that the plaintiff was not in breach of contract.
The defendant’s counterclaim was dismissed, and the plaintiff awarded Shs 749,884,386 being the money owed to it by the defendant. Interest was set at 19% p.a. Costs were ordered in favour of plaintiff.
The issue was whether an arbitrator has power to amend a contract.
The applicant was challenging an arbitral decision arguing that the composition of the arbitration tribunal and the award itself were wrong. It argued that the arbitrator dealt with an issue which was not contemplated by the parties and that he amended the subject contract in contravention of clause 10 of the contract. The applicant further alleged that the conduct of the arbitrator showed bias in favor of the respondents.
The respondent on the other hand argued that there was no evidence to show that the arbitrator was partial. They further contended that there was no contravention of clause 10 because the amendments were made in terms of clause 13 of contract.
In deciding the case, the court held that amendments to the contract cannot be made without consensus of each party. It ruled that an amendment in terms of clause 13 required an arbitrator appointed in accordance with that provision. It further held that the clause 10.2 of the contract only allowed an amendment by agreement in writing by both parties which was not the case in the matter before the court.
On allegations of partiality of the arbitrator, the court found that communication between the applicant and respondent shows likelihood of bias. The court further ruled that the composition of the tribunal was not in accordance with the contract. All these amounted to breach of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The arbitration award was set aside.