Reforming the Law of Evidence of Tanzania (Part One): The Social and Legal Challenges
47 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012 Last revised: 29 Apr 2014
Date Written: February 20, 2013
Over fifty years after its independence, the nation of Tanzania has built a complex system of courts along with intricate rules to govern them. Among those rules is Tanzania’s Evidence Act, a prolix and confusing 56-page document with 180 subpoints, some of which contradict. In 2011, the Tanzanian government established a working group to examine the Evidence Act with the goal of reforming it, and invited the authors to Dar es Salaam to meet with stakeholders in the legal community and discuss revision of the law. This Article is the result. It examines both the British colonial origin and inconsistent modern application of Tanzania’s evidence rules. The Article then identifies functional realities of the nation’s judicial system that must be considered in adopting any potential reform, many gleaned from the authors’ interviews and observations in Tanzania. The Article will serve as the first in a series about reform of Tanzania’s Evidence Act, with a second piece suggesting a new framework for governing the use of evidence in Tanzania, and a third identifying methods vital for adoption and acceptance of the new rules.
Keywords: evidence, procedure, comparative law, Tanzania
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