Source: (2003) African Studies Quarterly. 1(2). Downloaded 1 May 2003.

Yusufu Lawi claims that, since colonial days, justice administration in what is now mainland Tanzania has always involved arbitration procedures as well as more formal, court-based litigation processes. Moreover, in 1969 statutory provision was made for creation of a more formal and village-based structure known as the Arbitration Tribunals, and these were replaced by parliamentary act in 1985 with even more formalized and regularized structures called Ward Tribunals. Instituted to supplement and not replace the ordinary courts of law, the Ward Tribunals are intended to operate through mediation and arbitration as against litigation. In this paper Lawi examines the Ward Tribunals, with particular focus on key issues raised by their statutory objectives, functions, jurisdiction, and powers: their performance in relation to their aims and objectives; their effectiveness in achieving justice through mediation and reconciliation; and their usefulness in relieving pressure on the courts.

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