Legal Dilemmas on Application of the Overriding Objective Principle in the Court of Appeal of Tanzania

Noel Edward Tagagas Nkombe


In 2018 the government of the United Republic of Tanzania
introduced a new legal principle commonly referred to as “the
overriding objective principle.” This was done through
Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2018 (Act
No. 8 of 2018). It was said that the aim of the legislative
process was to promote substantive justice and to give
statutory effect to the contents of Article 107A (2) (e) of the
Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977.
Article 107A (2) (e) of the Constitution directs the courts of
law: To dispense justice without being tied up with
technicalities provisions, which may obstruct dispensation of
justice. Therefore, strictly speaking, the new law was not
creating anything new, but rather amplifying what the
Constitution had already provided back in 2005 when that
provision was entered into the mother law. However, since
the enactment of this law, the principle of “overriding
principle” has become a cause célèbre issue in legal circles in
the United Republic of Tanzania. The judiciary under the
guidance of the Court of Appeal of Tanzania has woken up
from a long slumber to fight legal technicalities in the name of justice. This is the preoccupation of this article under

Key Words: Overriding objective principle, legal dilemma and Court of Appeal of

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