Grounds for extension of time in Tanzania (case laws)

Here I will share with you the practical aspect when it comes to grounds for extension of time in Tanzania.

I will focus on the following key areas

  • General Principle on Extention of Time
  • What amounts to sufficient cause
  • Overview of the common grounds of extension of time in Tanzania and whether they a sufficient or not according to the precedents.
  • etc

Let’s get started

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General Principles on Extention of Time

In Tanzania, the legal framework provides provisions for the court to grant extensions of time for the exercise of various legal rights when individuals are faced with time limitations or are otherwise time-barred from taking action.

The general principle is that an extension of time can only be granted by the court when the applicant demonstrates sufficient reasons justifying the delay.

Here I will cite the case of Mumello vs Bank of Tanzania (Civil Appeal 12 of 2002) [2006] TZCA 12 (12 October 2006) where the court stated that;

“It is trite law that an application for extension of. time is entirely in the discretion of court to grant or refuse and that extension of time may only be granted where it has been sufficiently established that the delay was, due to sufficient cause.”

This position is echoed by section 14(1) of the Law of Limitation Act, Cap 89, R.E 2019 which provides that,

14.-(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, the court may, for any reasonable or sufficient cause, extend the period of limitation for the Institution of an appeal or an application, other than an application for the execution of a decree, and an application for such extension may be made either before or after the expiry of the period of limitation prescribed for such appeal or application.

Further Court of Appeal rules, 2009 (rule 10) provides that;

“The Court may, upon good cause shown, extend the time limited by these Ruies or by any decision o f the High Court or Tribunal, for the doing o f any act authorized or required by these Rules, whether before or after expiration of that time and whether before or after the doing o f the act; any reference in these Rules to any such time shall be construed as a reference to that time so extended” [Emphasis added]

This requirement underscores the importance of accountability and justification in seeking additional time to exercise legal rights.

See also  Judicial review notes in Tanzania (grounds, procedures, cases+pdf)

The judiciary in Tanzania operates within this framework to ensure fairness and equity in the administration of justice.

By requiring applicants to provide valid reasons for their delay, the legal system aims to prevent abuse of extension provisions while still allowing individuals the opportunity to pursue their rights within a reasonable scope of time.

Extension of time is granted in the exercise of court’s discretionary and must be exercised judiciously depending on the circumstances of each case subject to the good or sufficient cause given by the applicant.

In the case of Lyamuya Construction Co. Ltd vs Board of Registered of Young Women’s Christian Association of Tanzania court states that

As a matter of general principle, it is in the discretion of the Court to grant an extension of time. But that discretion is judicial, and so it must be exercised according to the rules of reason and justice, and not according to private opinion or arbitrarily.

In addition to that, the court formulated 4 guidelines when it comes to extension of time; (these guidelines are used by courts to decide whether a certain act or omission amounts to sufficient cause to grant extension)

  1. The applicant must account for all the period of delay
  2. The delay should not be inordinate
  3. The applicant must show diligence, and not apathy, negligence, or sloppiness in the prosecution of the action that he intends to take.
  4. If the court feels that there are other sufficient reasons, such as the existence of a point of law of sufficient importance; such as the illegality of the decision sought to be challenged.

The requirement of accounting for every day of delay has been emphasized by the Court in a numerous decisions, examples are such cases of Bushiri Hassan v. Latifa Lukio, Mashayo, Civil Application No. 3 of 2007 (unreported), and Karibu Textile Mills v. Commissioner General (TRA), Civil Application No. 192/20 of 2016 (unreported).

In the Bushiri Hassan case, the Court stated:

“Delay, of even a single day, has to be accounted for otherwise there would be no proof of having rules prescribing periods within which certain steps have to be taken.”

What amounts to sufficient cause?

To answer this question I will cite the case of Tanga Cement Co. Ltd vs Jumanne D. Masangwa & Another (Civil Application 6 of 2001) [2004] TZCA 45 (8 April 2004)

See also  Garnishee order in Tanzania (meaning and procedures)

In this case, the court stated that;

“What amounts to sufficient cause has not been defined. From decided cases, a number of factors have to be taken into account including whether or not the
application has been brought promptly
; the absence of any or valid explanation for the delay; lack of diligence on the part of the applicant”

The above position is supported by numerous courts’ decisions, to cite just
a few; in Kalunga and Company Advocates v. National Bank of Commerce [2006] TLR 235 the court stated that;

“What constitutes good cause cannot be laid down by any hard and fast rules. The term “good cause” Is relative one and Is dependent upon the party seeking extension of time to provide the relevant material In order to move the court to exercise Its discretion.”

Generally, what is a good cause is a question of fact, depending on the facts of each case.

In the case of Finca T. Ltd & Another vs Boniface Mwalukisa (Civil Application 589 of 2018) [2019] 1 T.L.R. 312 [CAT] court stated that;

it is also well-settled that the sufficient cause sought depends on deliberation of various factors, some of which revolve around the nature of actions taken by the applicant immediately before or after becoming aware that the delay is imminent or might occur.

In the case of Chiku Harid Chionda V Getrude Nguge Mtinga As Administratrix Of The Late Yohane Claude Dugu Civil Application No 509/01 Of 2018, CAT DSM, the court when citing the case of Lyamuya Construction Co. Ltd, reiterated 7 factors for consideration in granting of an extension of time that is;

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My aim here was to share with you the practical aspect when it comes to grounds for extension of time in Tanzania.

I hope you have found this post useful.

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  1. thanks for your service it’s helpful

    • You’re welcome! I’m happy to have been able to assist. Feel free to reach out if you require further help!”