Co-operative Societies Dispute Settlement in Tanzania and Unsettled Positions over Courts Authority

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Co-operative societies’ dispute settlement is among the contentious areas under the current Tanzanian legal machinery. The machinery requires ‘co-operative disputes’ to be settled through negotiation/reconciliation, reference to the Registrar, and finally appeal to the Minister. The machinery appears to preclude ordinary courts from entertaining co-operative disputes. It defines a co-operative dispute by ‘listing’ the probable parties to it and their controversies over so called ’co[1]operative business’. What remains unclear is the scope of the business of a co-operative society. The lack of clarity has resulted into disputes involving co-operative societies in the hands of courts of law. Expectedly, multiple ‘Preliminary Objections’ are raised on the point of lack of jurisdiction. The High Court of Tanzania has entertained some of these disputes. The study analyses the unsettled legal position on the authority of ordinary courts of law in settlement of co-operative disputes in Tanzania. Inter alia, it highlights the converging and diverging decisions of the High Court on the area. Of interest is the shared understanding that co-operative disputes are resolved through internal mechanisms and departure is as to what follows after the exhaustion of the mechanisms. Noted is the absence of a common understanding on ordinary courts authority over co-operative disputes, the extent of what they can preliminarily entertain and orders to be given. The study analyses the decisions, draw important conclusions and proposes ways forward with considerations seeking to strike a balance between p


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Sylvester, M., & Peter , A. (2023). Co-operative Societies Dispute Settlement in Tanzania and Unsettled Positions over Courts Authority. Journal of Co-Operative and Business Studies (JCBS), 7((Special Issue).