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Enforcing a Contract

Methods available for enforcement of contracts depend heavily on the choice of the parties as reflected in the contract. Parties are free to include provisions in the contract that enables alternative dispute resolution methods that relieve them from possible litigation. Depending on the parties' choice, direct litigation is also available.

A. Alternative Dispute Resolutions

It is common for the parties to opt for alternative methods such as mediation and arbitration. In the case of arbitration provisions of the Arbitration Act, No. 11 of 1995 would apply. This Act is broadly based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. When a contract contains an arbitration clause, disputes arising from such contracts should be resolved through arbitration. Parties are not permitted to go for litigation without resorting to arbitration. Arbitration awards, irrespective of the country in which it was made, are enforceable. High Courts are vested with the jurisdiction for this purpose.

B. Litigation

Depending on the value of the issue in dispute, Ordinary Civil Courts or the High Court of the Provinces will exercise jurisdiction.

1. Filing of plaint by plaintiff

2. The Defendant files the Answer

3. Filing of Replication by Plaintiff

4. Parties determine admissions and issues

5. Examination of witnesses and documents

6. Order

7. Enforcement of the Order

8. If dissatisfied with the Order appeal to higher courts