LAW N°21/2012 OF 14/06/2012 RELATING TO THE CIVIL, COMMERCIAL, LABOUR AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE
THE PARLIAMENT HAS ADOPTED AND WE SANCTION, PROMULGATE THE FOLLOWING LAW AND ORDER IT BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA
The Chamber of Deputies, in its session of 13 December 2011;
Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 04 June 2003 as amended to date, especially in Articles 62, 66, 67, 90, 92, 93, 108 and 201;
Pursuant to Organic Law nº 01/2004 of 29/01/2004 establishing the organization, functioning and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as modified and complemented to date;
Pursuant to Organic Law nº 59/2007 of 16/12/2007 establishing the Commercial Courts and determining their organization, functioning and jurisdiction;
Pursuant to Law nº 31/2001 of 12/06/2011 establishing and instituting the organization of professional bailiffs association;
Having reviewed Law nº 18/2004 of 20/06/2004 relating to the civil, commercial, labour and administrative procedure as modified and complemented to date;
TITLE ONE: PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Article One: Purpose of this Law
This Law governs the procedure applied by courts in civil, commercial, labour and administrative cases. It shall also apply to all other cases in the absence of specific laws governing such procedures, unless the principles provided for by this Law cannot apply to other cases.
Article 2: Conditions of admissibility of a claim
A claim cannot be accepted in court unless the plaintiff has the status, interest and capacity to bring the suit.
The provisions of the Paragraph One of this Article shall also apply to the associations, organizations and institutions without legal status which cannot file cases before courts without precluding their possibility to be sued.
Article 3: Status of the parties to begin an action
Only the interested parties can begin an action, except when the law provides otherwise. They have the right at any time to withdraw their claim before judgement or before its prescription in accordance with the law.
Article 4: Determining the subject matter and immutability of the claim
The subject matter of the claim shall be determined by the claims made by the respective parties. These claims shall be indicated in the plaintiff’s and defendant’s submissions.
In the course of trial, no party shall be allowed to change the subject matter of the claim, without agreement of all the parties to the case.
The subject matter of claim cannot in any way be changed in appeal.
However, the subject matter of the suit can be changed by additional claims if they are sufficiently linked to the original claims of parties.
Article 5: Obligations of parties
Parties to a case shall be under obligation to discharge the duties imposed on them. They shall be under obligation to complete documents related to proceedings in the prescribed form and time.
Article 6: Obligation of judges to decide cases
Judges shall decide cases by basing their decisions on the relevant law or, in the absence of such a law, on the rule they would have enacted, had they to do so, guided by judicial precedents, customs and usages, general principles of law and written legal opinions.
Judges cannot decide cases submitted to them by enacting general legal provisions and regulations.
Judges cannot refuse to decide a case on any pretext, even if the law is silent on the matter, obscure or insufficient.
Judges shall not in any case refer to foreign courts’decisions or foreign written legal opinions when they are in contradiction with the principles of public order or the Rwandan legal system.
The refusal to decide a case shall be filed with the President of the court superior to that of the accused judge or judges who tries it on the disciplinary level without prejudice to other criminal punishments provided for by the Criminal Code.
Article 7: Judgement on the subject matter
The judge shall rule only and on all that which is referred to the court.
Article 8 : Facts not considered in the course of trial
A judge cannot base his/ her decision on facts that were not presented in the course of trial; nor can he/ she decide a case basing on his/her personal knowledge of the case.
Article 9: Burden of proof
Every plaintiff must prove a claim. Failure to obtain proof, the defendant wins the case.
Likewise, a party who alleges that he/she has been discharged from an obligation that has been established must prove that the obligation no longer exists. Failure to do so, the other party wins the case.
Article 10: Right to being heard
No party to the case shall be subject to a court ruling without being heard or summoned.
Article 11: Powers of a decided case
A case that was definitively decided and of which the possibility to be reviewed due to a decision tainted with injustice is exhausted cannot be summoned again for the same facts and between the same parties pleading the same subject matter.
Article 12: Prohibition to exercise both ways of appeal
A party shall not choose both ways of appeal for the same case. The first appeal shall be only considered and he/she shall for the same case lose the right to exercise the second way of appeal.
Article 13 : Period for adjudication of a case
All cases introduced to the court shall be tried in a period not exceeding six months (6) starting from the date the court received the claim.
Otherwise, the President of the seized court shall explain to the President of the Supreme Court in writing the reasons thereof and shall also inform parties to the case.
Apart from hearing urgent claims that are realised in case, all cases shall be given a date for hearing in accordance with the order of recording in the roll.
Article 14: Adjournment of cases
A case shall not, for any reasons, be adjourned more than two (2) times within the same court for reasons based on litigants. On the third time of hearing when both parties are absent the court must rule the case or strike it off from the court records.
Article 15: Punishment for delaying a hearing
Any party who intentionally delays the hearing or who seeks the appeal as a delaying tactics, shall be charged a civil fine of twenty thousand (20.000) to two hundred thousand (200.000) Rwandan francs.
When the intentional delay of a case as per the provisions of the Paragraph One of this Article is caused by a member of the Bar Association or another person representing the party, he/she shall be charged a civil fine of two hundred thousand (200,000) to five hundred thousand (500,000) Rwandan Francs.
TITLE II: INSTITUTION OF PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER ONE: FILING A CLAIM
Article 16: Modalities of filing a claim and persons authorised to do so
A claim may be filed in a court of first instance by a written or oral complaint, presented either by the plaintiff himself/ herself, or his/her counsel or any other person duly authorised by him/her.
Article 17: Recording a claim
The written claim is filed at the court registry office in a number of copies equal to the number of defendants, accompanied by the submissions and the proofs upon which the claim is based as well as the note of the mediators in case it is provided for by the law. It may also be sent by post or electronically to the court registrar by those who have competence to sue.
An oral claim and submissions accompanied by proofs shall be put in writing by the court registrar.
After payment of court fees, the court registrar who receives the written or oral claim shall immediately record the claim in the court register if it meets all the requirements.
Article 18: Inadmissibility of a claim
The court registrar shall not receive a claim and record it in the court register in the following cases:
1º non-payment of court fees;
2º delay in submitting the claim ;
3º second appeal on urgent applications and unilateral petitions;
4º appeal on the decision taken after argument arising from the judgement execution;
5º appeal against a decision to strike off an expired case;
6º appeal on court decision confirming its jurisdiction;
7º appeal in the Supreme Court in cases that originate from Primary Courts;
8º appeal on interlocutory judgements which are not ruled together with final judgement;
9º appeal on a judgement rendered upon a case review;
10° appeal against a final judgement;
11° delay in submitting a claim of appeal;
12° claim filed by the plaintiff without status, capacity or interest;
13° claim that has to be first heard by Mediation Committee.
A party who is not satisfied with decision of the court registrar shall complain to the President of the court in oral or in a written way.
The inadmissibility order of the claim by the President or by the court registrar shall be in writing.
Article 19: Contents of a claim
The claim must indicate:
1° the date, month and year of filing;
2° the names, profession and residence of the plaintiff and if necessary, the names, competence and residence of his/her legal representatives;
3° the identity and address of the defendant;
4° the subject matter and grounds of the claim in brief;
5° the court the matter is referred to;
6° the signature or fingerprint of the plaintiff or a person having power of attorney to act on his/her behalf to file the claim;
7° matter related to the statement of the mediators in case the law so provides.
Article 20: Reading the written claim to the plaintiff
After an oral claim has been recorded into the court register, it shall immediately be read to the plaintiff so that he/she can verify whether what has been written corresponds to what he/she has said. The plaintiff shall sign or affixe a finger-print if he or she agrees.
Article 21: Contents of the court register of claims
Claims shall be recorded in the court regsiter following their order of their receipt.
The court register of claims shall include:
1° identities and address of the parties;
2° the date on which the claim is filed;
3° the date of hearing or postponment of the hearing and the date of pronouncement of the judgement;
4° the subject matter of the claim in brief;
5° the number of the file;
6° the date of appeal and the subject matter for appeal and incidental proceedings of any category.
Pages of such a court register shall be numbered before use.
Article 22: Recording claims in the court register
Claims shall be recorded also into the court register on a separate sheet and shall be put in the case file. Claims shall not bear any erasure, crossing out or alteration.
Article 23: Preparing the case for the hearing
After having received the claim, the chief registrar shall call the two parties, and remit to the defendant the plaintiff’s submissions and request him/her to give reply within fifteen (15) days, failure of which shall not lead to request for the postponement of the hearing due to lack of time to prepare for trial. The chief registrar asks the parties for possible additional evidence to be included in the file or whether they do not require other witnesses or members of the Bar Association.
After the formalities of registering the claim, the chief registrar informs the parties in writing indicating to them the date on which the case will be heard, with acknowledgement of receipt. Subsequently, the chief registrar prepares an order fixing the date for hearing the case, to be signed by the President of the court.
In preparing the case file, the Chief registrar may also:
1° confirm that the defendant has admitted the claim if he/she did so in writing;
2° reconcile the parties to obtain an amicable settlement; where an amicable settlement cannot be obtained, the file shall be prepared and the date for hearing the case shall be determined; where there is an amicable settlement, a report thereof shall be issued;
3° request a plaintiff to seek a lawyer to assist him/her depending on the nature of the case;
4° request that a party benefits from free legal aid;
5° decide to conduct a joint trial;
6° order that the summons be made using another most appropriate methods such as radio, television or other technological means;
7° give permission to issue the summons before or after the scheduled time;
8° determine court fees.
The provisions of this Article apply only to civil cases in ordinary courts, except for those provided for in item 2° of the same Article which does not apply to the Supreme Court.
Article 24: Numbering of all documents
All documents submitted by the parties or prepared by the court registrar or the judges, shall be immediately numbered and signed by the court registrar.
Article 25: Parties with same interests in a case
If there are several co-plaintiffs or codefendants with same interests, each of them, has the same rights and obligations as to these interests.
Provisions of the Paragraph One of this Article also apply to successors or members of associations who shall file a joint claim. Each one shall pay his/her court fees.
Article 26: Self deprivation of the right to action
Self-deprivation of the right to action is a self-denial of one’s capacity to plead. It is also self-deprivation of rights to make a follow up of the claim. Acceptance of another party is not necessary.
Self-deprivation of the right to action shall not be possible in case of dropping one`s rights for social status or in relation to matters of public order.
Article 27: Rules determining self-deprivation of the right to action
Self-deprivation of the right to action shall be determined by ordinary civil laws, related to self-deprivation of rights.
CHAPTER II: SUMMONS AND SERVING SUMMONS ON PARTIES
Article 28: Summons
A summons is a judicial writ drafted by the court registrar and delivered by a competent official and which compels a summoned party to appear before a court.
A summons can be served by a competent official to the party.
A summons can also be delivered to the party through post office or electronically.
Article 29: Elements necessary to issue summons
Any person who wishes to summon another shall provide to the court registrar all necessary elements orally or in writing for the drafting of the summons.
Article 30: Contents of the summons
The summons shall be drafted by the court registrar. It shall contain the names, profession, residence of the plaintiff and of the defendant. It shall briefly state the subject matter and indicate the court the matter is referred to as well as the place, date and hour of appearance.
It shall be accompanied by the submissions of the plaintiff.
Article 31: Special procedure for summoning
The following persons shall be summoned through the following procedures: 1° the Attorney General in the name of the Government;
2° the City of Kigali in the name of its Mayor;
3° the Mayor in the name of the District;
4° legal representatives in the name of the parastatal governments and public institutions with legal personality they represent;
5° legal representatives in the name of the private corporations, non-governmental companies and associations with legal personality they represent;
6° Liquidators in the name of the bankrupts.
Article 32: Status of the plaintiff
Whenever the plaintiff is not acting in his/her own name or whenever the defendant is not summoned in his/her own name, the summons shall specify the status in which they appear at trial.
Article 33: Summoning several persons
Summons meant for several persons shall be served on each of them personally.
Article 34: Modalities of serving the summons
A summons is served by a court balliff, court registrar or any other person authorized to do so. It is served on the defendant in person, or in his/ her absence at his/her residence or his/her domicile, by leaving a copy with a person residing there and who is at least sixteen (16).
If service to the defendant in person or the person mentioned in the Paragraph One of this Article is not possible, the summons may be left to the Executive Secretary of the Cell or Sector, in case of failure, it may be left to the Mayor of the District after signing the original copy of the summons.
After local authorities have signed the summons, they shall immediately get possible means of how the summons reaches the summoned party.
In case such persons refuse or neglect the receipt of the summons, or refuse signing the original copy of the summons, such a copy shall be served to the court registrar in the nearest Primary Court or Intermediate Court who takes necessary measures to deliver it to the summoned party.
Refusal by a Mayor of the District, an Executive Secretary of the Sector or Cell to receive the summons or to sign its original and to serve it to the concerned person shall be punished by a civil fine of twenty thousand (20,000) to one hundred thousand (100,000) Rwandan Francs without prejudice to a fine of damages for the aggrieved party.
If the defendant does not have a known domicile in Rwanda, but has a known residence, the summons shall be served at his/her residence.
Article 35: Meaning of domicile and residence
In this Law, domicile means the place where a person is registered in the official population register and from where he/she obtains identity documents or address where he/she chose to be reached.
Residence means any other place where a person lives because of his/her duties or any other reason, but where he/ she is not officially registered and from where he/she cannot obtain identity documents.
Article 36: Requirements in delivering summons
A summons and its copy shall contain the name of the person who received it and the relationship with the defendant. If it is not possible for the copy to be served, the reason thereof shall be written on the summons and its copy.
A summons and its copy shall contain the date on which the copy has been served as well as the identity and powers of the person who served the summons which is signed by him/her.
Article 37:Other means of serving the summons
A summons may also be served by sending its copy through the registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
Where the post serves a summons, the defendant shall acknowledge receipt and mention the date of the receipt. The period of summoning shall run from that moment.
A summons may also be served by sending it through a messenger who is required to return a document indicating that it was served on the defendant with his/her signature and date of receipt or endorsed by any of the persons mentioned in Article 34 of this Law, paragraph one.
A summons may also be served through his/her email address or fax which was provided to the court if the defendant`s domicile or residence is unknown or if it is his/her elected address.
The person who served the summons through the means referred to in the preceding paragraph shall present a written proof as to its being sent.
Article 38: Summoning a party living in a foreign country
If the party has no known domicile or residence in Rwanda but has a known domicile or residence abroad, a copy of the summons shall be sent to his / her address by registered mail and another copy be posted in the open place as determined by the court the matter is referred to and its summarized written form be posted at all Intermediate Courts in a period of two (2) months.
Article 39: Summoning a party with unknown address
If the defendant has unknown domicile or residence, the court registrar shall summon him/her by way of publication.
Article 40: Serving a summons by public notice
Serving a summons by public notice shall be made by posting a copy of a summons in an open place determined by the court the matterseized and its summarised written form shall be posted at all Intermediate Courts for a period of two (2) months.
Provisions mentioned in the Paragraph One of this Article shall go hand in hand with the publication of an order of the President of the Court compelling the defendant to appear in court in prescribed time and shall be informed that the copy of the claim awaits in the court registry.
The order shall be published in one State newspaper, and where necessary, it may be published in another private countrywide read newspaper determined by the President of the Court.
The President of the Court may order that the notice be publicised through any other appropriate means such as an announcement on the radio, television or any other electronic means.
Publication of the order shall be made in Kinyarwanda, but if considered necessary, the President of the Court may order that it be made also in French or English, or both.
Article 41: Proof of service by publication
Proof of service by public notice shall be made by submitting a copy of the page of the newspaper in which the notice was published to the court registry.
Article 42: Serving a summons to legal entities
Serving a summons to legal entities shall be made on the registered head office, or on one of their branches. A summons shall be delivered to the person responsible for receiving mails.
If a legal entity has no known offices, a summons shall be served as provided for in Article 39 of this Law.
Article 43: Hours of serving the summons
Service shall not be made before 5.00 am and after 7.00 pm and on public holidays, unless there is authorisation by the President of the Court, which can be obtained without any formalities and shall be written on the original and the copy of the summons.
Application for the authorisation shall be made to the President of the Primary Court where the service is supposed to be made.
Article 44:Period for serving the summons
The period of summons shall be of eight (8) working days running from the date of serving the summons to that of appearing before the court.
The period between service of summons and the date of appearing in court for people with unknown domicile or residence in Rwanda but with a known address abroad is two (2) months, and three (3) months for people with unknown domicile or residence.
When a summons to a person who resides abroad is served on him/ her in person while in Rwanda, he/she is required to appear in court within the time provided for people with known domicile or residence in Rwanda.
Article 45: Summoning of a party with promptness
For those cases requiring promptness, the President of the competent court may, by using an order issued upon application, permit the summoning of a party without delay.
An application and a court order shall be attached on the copy of the summons and served at the same time as the summons.
Article 46: Date and the hour of appearance
The date and the hour of appearance shall be indicated on the summons.
When the summons is served in one of the ways prescribed in Article 34 of this Law, the time limit for appearing before the court shall begin to run from the date of its receipt or from the date of signature or finger print.
In the case provided for under Article 40 of this Law, the time limit shall start to run from the date of posting the summons.
Article 47: Illegal summons
A summons issued by a person other than the empowered official or the summons that does not indicate the date on which it was issued, shall be invalid.
Article 48: Rights of a party summoned illegally
An application can be made to set aside a default judgment rendered against a party who was served an illegal summons, if he/she did not appear in court.
The failure or refusal to fulfil the requirements relating to summons or their service is punishable by a civil fine of twenty thousand (20.000) to one hundred thousand (100.000) Rwandan Francs without prejudice to damages for the aggrieved party.
TITLE III: HEARING A CASE AND ITS RELATED INCIDENTS
CHAPTER ONE: HEARINGS
Section One: Appearance of parties
Article 49: Appearing of parties
Parties shall appear in person or through their counsels. In the latter case, their counsels shall also be bound by the procedures applicable to the parties.
Article 50: Personal appearance of parties
For good administration of justice, the President of the Court or the bench may, at any time, at any stage of the proceedings and for any matter,even on his/her own initiative, order the personal appearance of parties before court.
Article 51: Other persons that can appear personally in court The President of the court or the bench may order the personal appearance of persons declared incapable, of those who assist them or of their legal representatives.
Article 52: Appearance of legal entities
The President of the court or the bench may order the appearance of legal entities. The latter appear either through an employee holding a special power of attorney, or through a member of their management or a person having the status to represent the legal entity by virtue of the law or its statutes.
Article 53: Appearance of Government administrative organs
The President of the Court or the bench may order the appearance of Government administrative organs, which appear in court through a State Attorney, authorised to appear in court on their behalf by virtue of the law or any other employee entrusted with special power of attorney to represent them in courts.
Article 54: Appearance of Governement directors or employees
The President of the court or the bench may order the personal appearance of Government Officials or employees, members of Board of Directors or employees of Government parastatals and private companies regarding facts of which they have personal knowledge or which came to their knowledge by virtue of their duties, subject to respect for professional secrecy.
Article 55: Effects of default to appear
If a party who has been ordered to appear in person fails to do so, the court may draw all legal inferences on that basis, and take a decision.
Article 56: Content of court order for parties to appear in person
A court order requiring the personal appearance of a party shall indicate the date, time and place of appearance. The order shall not be subject to appeal.
Section 2 : Default of appearance
Article 57: Rights of defendant in case of the plaintiff’s default
If the plaintiff fails to appear before the court without a justified reason, the defendant may request a dismissal of the case or ask the court to hear the case on merits in his/her favor, and the judgement shall be considered as rendered after hearing both parties, unless for good administration of justice, the court is required to adjourn the case to another date in order to re-summon the plaintiff.
If the case is struck off from the court register, it shall cease to be and all court fees already incurred shall be borne by the plaintiff.
Article 58: Request to re-introduce an already struck off case
When a case is struck off from the court register, a party may not, at any time, have the case reintroduced, unless he/she provides an exceptional and serious reason that led to the failure of his/ her appearance before the court.
Application for reintroduction of proceedings shall be made within fifteen (15) days from the date the case was struck off from the court register.
The court has the power to allow the reintroduction of a case if it finds the reasons for the failure to appear founded. Its decision is not subject to appeal.
Re-introduction of an appeal case shall not stop its execution.
Such a claim shall be considered as a claim in appeal. A decision of the court regarding the reintroduction of proceedings shall not be subject to appeal.
In any case, no one may apply for reintroduction of proceedings for the second time in case of his/ her default in the previous hearings on the first reintroduction.
Article 59: Defendant’s default to appear for the first hearing
If the defendant does not appear to the first hearing without valid reason, the plaintiff may apply for adjournment of the case or for the case to proceed in the absence of the defendant. In the latter situation, the submissions of the plaintiff shall be considered, his/her claim received and given basis if well founded and if it has been lodged in compliance with the procedure provided for by the Law.
Article 60: Defendant`s default to appear for the second hearing
If after the first hearing, the defendant fails to appear at subsequent hearings, or appears but abstains from saying anything on his/her behalf, the plaintiff shall apply for hearing within fifteen (15) days after the defendant has been informed and warned.
After expiration of fifteen (15) days from the date the defendant was informed of his/her appearance, the plaintiff shall apply for adjudication of the case. The judgment shall be considered to have been rendered after due hearing of the parties.
Article 61: Appearance of some defendants in indivisible claims
If, in indivisible claims, only some defendants appear, the court, either on its own motion or upon application by one of the parties present, shall stop the hearing or adjourn it to another date.
The court registrar shall make a record of the absent parties and the new date of the hearing on the copies of minutes of the proceedings.
By observing the procedure of hearings, the court registrar shall inform all the parties of the new date of the hearing and warn them that any judgement made in the absence of one of the parties shall be considered to have been rendered after due hearing of both parties.
A single judgement is delivered in respect of all the parties even including those who appeared but did not appear again.
Article 62: Appearance of some defendants in divisible claims
If, in divisible cases, some of the defendants appear and not others, the court may, at the request of any of the parties present, separate the claims and try them in separate proceedings, subject to the laws regarding jurisdiction of courts, or adjourn the case to another date and summon the parties under warning, in accordance with the provisions of Article 61 of this Law.
Article 63: Adjourning or striking off the case from the register in case of default of all parties
If, on the date of hearing none of the summoned parties appears, the court may adjourn the case or strike it off fromthe register when it is evident that the parties had no interest to follow up their case.
Section 3 : Hearing in court
Sub-section one: Debates during a hearing
Article 64: Hearing of a case by a single judge
A court hearing a case on the first instance shall be comprised of a single judge assisted by a court registrar, otherwise the judgement becomes invalid.
However, during the appeal the President of the court at his/ her own motion, may appoint a bench of three (3) judges or more but it must be an odd number at all times, assisted by a court registrar depending on the gravity and nature of the case.
When a judge cannot continue with the hearing due to various reasons, he/she shall be replaced by another judge upon a decision of the President of the court.
In such situation, the hearing shall proceed.
Article 65: Hearing on the date and place fixed by the court
The hearing shall take place on the date and place fixed by the court. It may, with agreement of the parties, continue after working hours or be adjourned to the next hearing date.
When one of the parties comes late for the hearing, the judge may allow or refuse him/her to take part into debates depending on which phase the hearing is at.
In such case, the hearing shall proceed.
Article 66: Hearing of the subject matter
Parties and their counsel shall be limited to those matters which constitute the subject matter and in the language agreed upon by all parties. Where this is not possible, the judge shall look for an interpreter.
The parties are heard in an adversarial manner. They respond to each other and if they find it necessary, they can present written arguments and additional conclusions.
Article 67: Hearing conducted in public or camera
Hearing of cases shall be conducted in public.
However, if the court upon its own motion or when one of the parties or both of them resquest so, finds the hearing conducted in public would be dangerous to public order or good morals and people’s rights or would be a detrimental invasion of privacy, the court may take a decision that the hearing be conducted in camera and the explanation thereof shall be given. This decision does not concern parties’ counsels in that particular case.
Nevertheless, even if the hearing of cases is conducted in public, matters concerning photography and recording shall be authorised by the judge.
Article 68: Conducting the hearing
The presiding judge shall conduct the hearings and ends them when he /she finds that the court has all the necessary sufficient justifications.
The hearing shall be conducted in the following order:
1° the presiding judge declares the hearing open;
2° the court registrar calls the parties and reads the original complaint;
3° the parties and their witnesses, if there are any, identify themselves;
4° the witnesses are asked to leave the court and separated before they are heard;
5° the judge asks parties if they have objections or incidental proceeding to be raised;
6° plaintiff, his / her counsel, or his / her authorised representative is invited to present his / her claims, legal basis and his/ her conclusions;
7° the defendant, his/her counsel, or his or her authorised representative is invited to present his/her defence on the claims and produce evidence;
8° the parties are given the floor to respond, if necessary;
9° the criticisms directed towards witnesses are presented with justifications;
10° the witnesses of the parties are heard one by one and after swearing in these terms: “I swear to tell the truth. May I face the law if I tell lies”. If necessary, they administer oath to each other for the purposes of confrontation before the parties or in their absence, if that presence is likely to influence the truth;
11° the parties are confronted with each other and if necessary, the testimony of the witnesses. They may, upon authorization by the court, directly cross examine witnesses. Parties They are heard and authorized to ask questions themselves or to refute those declarations which are prejudicial to their interests;
12° the court can give, either on its own motion or upon application of the parties, any additional proceeding deemed necessary or useful for the establishment of truth;
13° the presiding judge asks the parties if they have any declarations to add to their pleadings;
14° the presiding judge informs the parties the date of judgement pronouncement;
15° the presiding judge requests the parties and witnesses if they are present as well as their representatives or any person with power of attorney, to sign or affix fingerprints on minutes of proceedings and declares the hearings closed.
Article 69: Document presented after the hearing
No documents in general, conclusions of the case and the document containing provisions pertaining to the case may be deposited with the court after the hearing has been declared closed.
However, if before deliberations, a new and relevant document or fact which can help to demonstrate the truth is discovered by one of the parties, he/she may, before judgment is rendered, present it to the court after having communicated it to the other party.
The court alone shall assesse whether it is necessary to re-open hearing.
Nevertheless, if the court will render judgement on the basis of the new evidence, it must order a re-opening of the case.
The court also upon its own motion before taking a decision may re-institute the hearing when it finds it helpful for the establishment of truth.
If the case is reopened, the court shall fixe the date, place and time on which the parties will appear.
Article 70 :Records of the hearing
Apart from where hearings are conducted by recording, the court registrar shall write down the minutes of the hearing or recrod all that is said and done in the course of trial that relates to the case.
Article 71: Content of the hearing minutes
The hearing minutes shall contain :
- the precise subject matter of the case;
- the full identification of the parties;
- all of the declarations of the plaintiff and the defendant as well as those of other parties to the trial;
- the full identification of the witnesses and their declarations;
- the signatures or finger prints of all the parties and witnesses;
- whether the hearing was conducted in public or in camera ;
- the name and signature of the judge or judges as well those of the court registrar;
- the place of the hearings and date of the judgment pronouncement.
Article 72: Verification of records of the hearing
The parties as well as witnesses shall be permitted to verify the conformity of the minutes to their declarations before signing or initial finger print on the copies of minutes of the hearing, read them or request a person to read for them, to verify whether what is said corresponds to their statements in trial. If they have any comments, it is recorded on copies of minutes before closing the hearing.
Sub-section 2: Order in court
Article 73: Politeness of parties
In all their doings and words, all the people who take part in the court’s proceedings shall be polite and respectful with regard to the judges, their adversaries and the public.
They shall speak freely about matters relating to their cases, but with the respect due to justice and the clarity necessary for the understanding of judges.
A speaker who deviates from the subject matter of the case or who is not courteous is brought to order by the presiding judge. If he/she persists in his/her deviations and discourteous remarks, the presiding judge can silence him/her for a moment in a polite way without intimidating or harassing him/her.
All of the judge’s directives regarding the order and discipline for the smooth running of a hearing shall be immediately executed.
Article 74: Removing hats during the hearing
Subject for those authorised by law, persons who attend hearing or are present in all places where judges are exercising their official functions must remove their hats, be respectful and silent.
Article 75: Ensuring security during the hearing
If in court or in any place where a public judicial hearing is being held, one or several of the persons present make noise, outwardly express approval or disapproval, or cause or encourage any disturbances in any manner whatsoever, the presiding judge shall bring them to order and if they persist, expels them, if necessary, he/she shall inform the security personnel without prejudice to other penalties provided for by the Law.
If the trouble is caused by a party to the case, the presiding judge shall bring him/ her to order, if he / she persists, the judge shall expel him/her and the hearing continues, as if he/she is present. If he/she is expelled and refuses to leave, the presiding judge shall inform the security personnel who shall expel the party by force, without prejudice to other penalties provided for by the Law.
If the trouble is caused by a person who works for the court or a member of the Bar Association, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph one of this Article, he/she may be suspended from his/ her duties, in accordance with the relevant legal provisions.
Article 76: Trying offences committed during the hearing
If an offence committed during the hearing is punishable by a maximum imprisonment of five (5) years, the court may immediately sentence the perpetrator.
If the offence is punishable by a sentence of more than five (5) years of imprisonment, the court, after having the person arrested and making a statement of the facts, shall send the file and the detainee before a competent public prosecutor.
CHAPTER II: INCIDENTAL PROCEEDINGS DURING THE HEARING
Section One: General provisions
Article 77: Definition of incidental proceedings
In this Law, the term incident means any reason occurring during the hearing that may lead to the suspension of the proceedings or the changes in the nature of the claim.
The incidents mentioned in this Chapter are objections and reasons for the inadmissibility of a claim.
In this Law, an objection is a reason raised by a party without the intention to undermine the legality of the claim, but with the intention of its adjournment before adjudication in substance.
The reason for the inadmissibility of a claim is any argument requesting for inadmissibility of a claim without being considered on merit such as not having the status, capacity, and interest to file a claim, prescription of the claim, expiry of the prescribed period to file a claim, a decided case or non payment of court fees.
Article 78: Time to raise an incident
Parties shall raise an objection or any reason that may lead to the inadmissibility of a claim when the plaintiff has not started explaining his/her claim, except when the law provides otherwise.
Provisions of the paragraph One of this Article shall not apply to a judge who wants to raise an incident at his/her own motion since the judge can raise it at anytime before pronouncing the judgement.
Whenever the party raises an objection or any reason that may lead to the inadmissibility of the claim, the court shall take a decision before proceeding with the hearing.
However, for good administration of justice, the court can order that the objection be examined at once in one claim during the hearing on the subject matter.
Section 2: Objections
Sub section One: Objection regarding mandate for legal representation
Article 79: Legal representation
Parties shall be represented in courts in conformity with provisions governing the Bar Association of Rwanda.
Sub section 2: Objection regarding removal and disowning of the power of representation
Article 80: Not exceeding the terms of mandate
Counsels cannot validly undertake any procedural act which would exceed the limits of their powers as provided for by the law or by the terms of their mandate.
Article 81: Revoking or modifying the mandate conferred by the represented party
Any person who is represented and has the capacity to act in court, may, at any stage of the proceedings, revoke or modify the mandate conferred to his/her representative, in order to represent himself/herself or provide for replacement.
However, the procedural acts legaly made by a duly mandated representative before the revocation and within the limits of his/her mandate remain valid and may have effects on the concerned party.
Article 82: Disowning a representative
A person who is represented may disown his/ her representative who exceeds his/her mandate or acts fraudulently or who did not act in his/her best interest.
Article 83: Procedure for disowning
Disowning deeds of a legal representative shall be made before the court in which the claim is heard. It is notified to the person whose act is being disowned and to the parties to the principal claim who are called to the hearing.
All proceedings and judgments relating to the main claim shall be suspended until the disowning case is heard; otherwise, it shall be invalid unless the court requires a disowning party to make sure the disowning case is decided within the time limits set. Upon failure to do so, the court shall render a judgment on disowning case within thirty (30) days.
Article 84:Validity of disowning
If the disowning is declared valid, the judgment or those provisions of the judgment that were related to the disowning shall be quashed.
The disowned person may be condemned to pay damages to the plaintiff and other prejudiced parties, unless he/she is a legal counsel and it is established that he/she did not act fraudulently.
Article 85: Rejected disowning
If the disowning is rejected, the judgment rejecting it shall be mentioned in the record of the main claim and the plaintiff may be condemned to pay appropriate damages to the disowned person and to the other prejudiced parties.
Article 86: Refusing a disowning
If the disowning is instituted after a final judgment, it shall not be admitted.
Sub-section 3: Objection regarding security deposits furnished by foreigners
Article 87: Security deposits furnished by foreigners
With exception of cases where they institute claims related to their property and of which they have evidence, all foreign nationals, with the exception of East African Community nationals, whether original plaintiffs or joined to the proceedings, must, if the defendant so requires, before other objections, deposit an amount of security which is enough to satisfy the costs and damages that might arise from the case, unless there are agreements by which foreign States entered with Rwanda exempting their nationals from depositing such a security.
The defendant may also request that the security be paid for the first time on appeal.
Article 88: Judgement on the payment of security deposit
The judgement ordering the payment of the security shall fixe the manner in which it has to be paid as well as its amount.
A foreign plaintiff shall be exempted from depositing the required security if he/she proves that he/she owns an immovable property in Rwanda which covers the required security.
Sub-section 4: Objection of lack of jurisdiction, lis pendens, connexity and dilatory Article 89: Objection of lack of jurisdiction
The party raising an objection of lack of jurisdiction shall justify it and identify the court to which he/she wants the case be transferred.
The decision shall be taken immediately.
Article 90: Appeal against a decision of lack of jurisdiction
If one of the parties is not satisfied with the court’s decision due to lack of jurisdiction, the party must lodge an appeal against it within five (5) days. The appellate court must decide on the appeal within fifteen (15) days, from the date on which the appeal was filed.
If the court rules that it has jurisdiction, the party that is not contented with the decision appeals against it with the main suit.
Article 91: Objection of lis pendens, connexity and dilatory
When there are two claims concerning the same subject matter which are pending before different courts, or when there are related claims which are pending before different courts, or an objection of dilatory, the court shall decide on the objection in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of this Law.
Sub-section 5: Objections of nullity
Article 92: Act becoming void due to irregularities in the form
No procedural act shall be considered void because of an irregularity in the form except in the following circumstances :
- if undoubtedly the voidance is provided for by Law;
- if there is any serious formality or of public order that is not respected;
- if the party requesting for it indicates the loss he/ she may incur.
Article 93: Correcting irregularity in form
Procedural acts nullified due to irregularity in form shall regain validity upon corrections as long as corrections do not have any impact on the subject matter.
Article 94: Time for raising an objection related to irregularity in form
Nullity of procedural acts due to irregularity in form may be raised at any time as long as effects related to such acts still exist, but may be disrespected after the defence is presented on merits or a request for inadmissibility of the claim is made without any comment on the nullity of the acts.
Article 95: Objection to the validity of a procedural act based on the party’s fault
A person shall not object to the validity of a procedural act based on his/her own fault.
Article 96: Objection to the validity of an executed convention
A person who executes a convention knowing that is has irregularity shall not object to its validity.
Article 97: Time for making an objection for the non-observance of basic rules
Objections arising from non-observance of basic rules regarding the procedural acts shall be accepted and may be raised at any point during the proceedings, without prejudice to the possibility of damages that may be imposed by the court on persons who abstain from raising them earlier in order to delay the case.
They must be raised by the court on its own motion when they hold the character of public order.
Article 98: Non obligation to justify a complaint for admissibility of an exception of nullity for non-observance of basic rules
Objections relating to non-observance of basic rules regarding the procedural acts shall be accepted without the person raising them having to prove the prejudice they caused, even if nullity has not been expressly provided for by the Law.
Sub section 6: Objection for disqualification of judges
Article 99: Reasons to disqualify a judge
Any judge may be disqualified if :
1° the judge, his/her spouse and their children have an interest in the case;
2° the judge or the judge’s spouse is directly related by blood or marriage, or indirectly related up to the fourth degree of the collateral lineage with one of the members of the court bench, one of the parties, his/her counsel or representative;
3° one of the parties demonstrates basis of enmity between him/her and the judge;
4° if the judge has demonstrated friendship to one of the parties or if, since the case began, he/she has been entertained by one of the parties at the party’s own cost or has ever accepted presents from the party;
5° he/she has already given an opinion or advice on the case before it came for trial;
6° the judge and one of the parties have or have ever had a relationship due to contract of employment;
7° he/she has already intervened in the case as a judge, mediator, prosecutor, judicial police officer, party, witness, arbitrator, interpreter, expert or public servant;
8° there has been a criminal or civil case between the judge and his/her spouse, direct blood or marital relative or an indirect relative up to the fourth degree of the collateral lineage and one of the parties, his/ her spouse or a person related to him/her on basis of blood or marriage directly or indirectly up to fourth degree of colateral lineage.
Article 100: Voluntary withdrawal from a case
When a judge finds him/her in one or several of the cases mentioned in Article 99 of this Law, he /she may withdraw from the case by writing a letter to the President of the court. Other cases which have not been mentioned will be assessed by the discretion of the judge.
Article 101: Powers to take temporary decision on disqualification
If an application for disqualification of a judge is made, a court may take measures that protect the interests of parties.
Article 102: Procedure to apply for disqualification
A person who wants to disqualify a judge at any stage of the proceedings shall raise it in the course of the hearing, it shall be recorded in the register of the court to which the judge belongs and the party shall get an acknowledgement of receipt.
The court registrar shall give the President of the court a copy of disqualification request within twenty- four (24) hours of receipt.
If the court registrar is unavailable, the application shall be made in writing and submitted to the President of the court who in turn shall issue an acknowledgement of receipt.
The President of the court immediately suspends judgement and proceedings related to the case upon receipt of the request of disqualification.
Article 103: Examining the admissibility of an application for disqualification of a judge The court to which the disqualied judge belongs shall immediately examine the admissibility of the application.
If the application for disqualification is rejected, proceedings shall continue.
When an application for disqualification is admissible, the President of the court shall send, as soon as possible, a copy of the application to the concerned judge so that he/she shall give his/ her comments in writing in a period not exceeding fourty- eight hours (48).
The disqualified judge shall not examine the admissibility of the application.
Article 104: Ruling on the application for disqualifying a judge
The court makes a ruling on the application in chamber’s meeting within eight (8) days of receipt of a written reaction from the disqualified judge. When the disqualified judge accepts the grounds for disqualification, or if the court finds reasons genuine, the court shall order that the judge withdraws from the proceedings.
Article 105: Appeal against a judgement on disqualification of a judge
Judgements declaring inadmissible or rejecting applications disqualifying a judge shall be appealed against jointly with judgements on merits.
Sub section 7: Objections relating to extension of a case
Article 106: A counterclaim
A counterclaim is any claim filed by the defendant, seeking judgement against the plaintiff.
Article 107: Period for filing counterclaims
Counterclaims shall be raised in court at any stage before proceedings end, without having to pay additional court fees.
They shall be admissible only if they are within the jurisdiction of the court to which the main suit is referred and if:
- they constitute a defence to the main suit or those that are related to it;
- they are intended to claim for damages for abuse of process in the case;
- they seek compensation between the parties.
Article 108: Single judgement on the main claim and the counterclaim
The court the matter is referred to decides the main suit and the counterclaim in the same judgment.
However, if the nature of the counterclaim is such that it will delay the judgment of the main suit the court the matter is referred to may first decide on the main suit and later on the counterclaim in a separate judgment in a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days.
A counterclaim shall not be admissible if the main claim no longer exists.
Article 109: Claims arising from the original complaint
Additional claims are those, which arise from the original complaint which complete it or extend it to take into account facts that arose after the filing of the complaint of which the court has to take a decision.
Article 110: Filing for the additional claims
Additional claims shall be instituted cumulatively in the course of the proceedings, without having to pay additional court fees.
They shall be admissible only if they are within the jurisdiction of the court deciding the main suit and if they are based on the same cause, originating from the same facts, and rely on the same grounds.
Article 111: Hearing on the main suit and the additional claims
The court seized with the additional claims may either decide them separately, or join them to the main suit and make a single judgment.
However, the court may separate additional claims from the main suit if, they are likely to delay the resolution of the main suit, decide on the main suit and there after decide on the additional claims in a separate judgements in a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days.
However, the additional claim shall not be admissible if the main claim no longer exists.
Article 112: Right to intervene in a case
Any person has the right to intervene in a case at all court stages and at any time, if it is likely to affect his/her interests. He/she may intervene voluntarily or be forced to do so.
Article 113: Voluntary intervention in a case
Voluntary intervention is done when a person, on his or her own volition, intervenes in a case where he or she is neither a plaintif nor a defendant in order to have it declared that the claim of the litigation belongs to him or her or to make sure that his or her interests are not compromised by the court’s decision.
Article 114: Proving legitimate interest
In order for his/her claim to be admitted, the intervening party must prove legitimate interest, his/her direct personal material or moral interest.
Article 115: Modalities of voluntary intervention in a case
Application for voluntary intervention shall be made by formally instituting a claim and by payment of court fees.
Article 116: Forced intervention in a case
Forced intervention is the right of the parties to call on a person not a party to the case.
Article 117: Persons who may be forced to intervene in a case
Forced interventions may be instituted by any interested party against all persons who are third parties to a case against which they can sue by a third party opposition in order to challenge them in one case.
Article 118: Impossibility of forced intervention
Forced intervention that could result in a sentencing judgment may not be made for the first time in appeal.
Article 119: Requirements for the admissibility of voluntary or forced intervention
Forced or voluntary interventions shall be admissible only if:
- they are interconnected with the original claim;
- their scope is within the jurisdiction of the court seized with the original claim.
Article 120: Impossibility of intervention to delay the hearing of the main claim
A forced or voluntary intervention by a third party to a case shall not delay judgment of the main suit, unless separation of the case from its related intervention compromises the interests of the intervener in an irreparable manner.
Article 121: Summoning the warrantor in the case
If on the day of the first appearance before the court, a party requests that the warrantor be summoned, the judge shall grant to the warrantor a period not exceeding eight (8) days. The summons for the warrantor shall be drafted and served in accordance with the ordinary procedure.
If the application to bring in the warrantor was not made on the first appearance or if the summons were not made within eight (8) days, or if the warrantor does not appear, the court shall proceed with adjudication of the original suit without delay, and a suit regarding warranty shall be settled separately.
Article 122: Hearing on the main suit and the guaranty
If the main suit and the application for guaranty can be adjudicated at the same time, it shall be done jointly; otherwise the original plaintiff may request for adjudication of his/her case separately. The same judgement shall pronounce the separation of the two cases if they have been joined.After the adjudication of the main suit, the case related to guaranty also shall be adjudicated in period not exceeding fifteen (15) days.
When the guarantee loses the case, the winning party may require the guarantor to pay him/her the amount of the sentence unless he/she is not a party to the case.
Sub section 8: Objections relating to case transfer
Article 123: Removal from a court and transfer of a case to another court
The President of an immediate superior court may transfer a case from an inferior court to another court of the same level if :
1° a court which has jurisdiction to try the case cannot be formed in compliance with the required legalities or if its functioning has been otherwise interrupted;
2° an application for transfer has been made because of public order;
3° one case is referred to two or more courts at the same time and none of them accepts to withdraw or when there is conflict between the two courts regarding the hearing of the case;
4° the dispute is interconnected with another case already pending before another court.
Article 124: Transferring a case by the order of the President of the Court
The case may be transfered by the order of the President of the high level on initiative or at the request of any of the parties including an intervening party, or because of the decision of the court to withdraw itself, after giving reasons thereof.
Article 125: Application for transfer of a case requested by a party
Application for transfer of a case requested by a party shall be made before pleadings begin, otherwise the application becomes inadmissible.
Article 126: Mode of transferring a case
An application for transfer of a case shall be requested orally or in writting by a party or his/her counsel.
The application shall contain the grounds and clear conclusions of the applicant, justifying his/ her request for transfer.
The President of the court concerned with the sending of the case in another court shall send the complete case file to the immediate superior court to decide on the matter if there is no any other law that provides otherwise.
The superior court shall render its decision within eight (8) days.
Article 127: Suspensive effect of an application for transfer of a case
The application for transfer of a case shall have a suspensive effect on all proceedings until there has been a judgement on the application.
Sub section 9: Objections relating to interruption and resumption of proceedings
Article 128: Interruption factors which cannot stop the court from ruling a case
When it is time for the ruling of a case, the death of parties, changing their status or their cessation of the functions in which they had been acting shall not oblige the court to stop rendering the judgement.
Article 129: Calling persons having capacity to continue the proceedings
When a case is not yet ready to be decided and one of the events mentioned in Article 128 of this Law brought to its attention, the court calls those persons having the capacity to continue the proceedings in accordance with the procedure regarding summons and service.
If the summoned persons mentioned in the Paragraph One of this Article fail to appear to proceed with their case within the time provided, the case shall be heard in default as provided by the Law.
Sub section 10: Objections relating to extinction of proceedings
Article 130 : Definition of withdrawal from a case
Withdrawal from a case is the act whereby the plaintiff, having instituted the suit, abandons it and puts an end to the case with the consent of the defendant. It has no effect on the merits of the case, the course of action subsists and is not a bar to subsequent action.
Withdrawal from a case shall be acceptable in all suits.
Article 131: Form of withdrawal from a case
Withdrawal from a case may be made and accepted at any stage of the proceedings by a simple written declaration, signed by the interested party or his/her counsel and the notice of which is served to the other party.
Withdrawal may also be made verbally before the court.
Article 132: Return the former situation
Acceptance of withdrawal from a case makes the situation return to the way it was for both parties before filing the lawsuit.
With respect to the party making the withdrawal from a case, it also entails the obligation to pay the costs of the procedure instituted up to the point of withdrawal.
Article 133: Definition of acceptance of a claim
An acceptance of a claim is where the defendant admits the claims made by the plaintiff or the judgment against him/ her.
Article 134: Form of acceptance of a claim
A person may accept a claim at any stage of the proceedings. He/she may explicitly or implicitly in his /her actions indicating clearly that he or she admits the claims of his/her adversary or the execution of the court’s decisions.
Article 135: Unilateral status of acceptance
Acceptance of a claim shall be unilateral. It shall not be subject to the acceptance by the other party.
When it occurs in the course of hearing, the court immediately shall render the judgment.
Article 136: Effect of acceptance
Acceptance of claim shall entail an obligation of the execution of the judgement in its entire form and content.
Article 137: Time limitation for a lawsuit
Any case that is stayed for a period of six (6) months without judgement due to negligence of the plaintif shall not be re-adjudicated unless new court fees are paid.
Article 138: A case lapsed by inaction of a plaintiff
If a case lapses due to the plaintiff’s failure to follow it up in court, the plaintiff shall pay all the costs related to that case.
Article 139: Effects of limitation period of a case
If a court, on its own motion or upon request, approves that a case lapsed due to failure of hearing, it shall not be retried. It merely extinguishes the previous procedure and removes it from the register, without any possibility of invoking them for defence.
Article 140: Effect of a case lapsing subject to opposition, appeal and application for review
In case of opposition, appeal or application for review and thereafter it lapses; the judgement shall not be subject to retrial.
Article 141: Appeal against judgement on a lapsed case
The judgement turning a case into a lapsed case shall not be subject to appeal.
Section 3: Request for inadmissibility of a claim
Article 142: Persons who can request for inadmissibility of a claim
Request for inadmissibility of a claim may be made by a party or court at its own motion.
Request for inadmissibility of a claim shall be raised by the court on its own initiative if its reasons are of the nature of public law and order such as exceeding the time limit within which to appeal or lack of status,capacity or interest to sue.
Article 143: Appeal against a judgement on request for inadmissibility of a claim
The judgement as to inadmissibility of a claim may be appealed alone if that judgement can lead to the final hearing.
The provisions of the Paragraph One of this Article shall not apply to a judgement on request for a case dismissal when that interlocutory decision not closing the hearings. The appeal against such a decision
shall be made together with the judgement on the main claim.
CHAPTER IV: JUDGEMENT
Section One: Deliberations
Article 144: Period for deliberation of a case
The deliberation of a case shall begin immediately or on the day following the closing of the proceedings.
Article 145: Order of conducting debates on deliberations
Debates on deliberations shall be conducted in camera.
When several judges are sitting as a bench, the most recently appointed judge gives his/her opinion first, followed by the other judge and finally the presiding judge.
Decision shall be taken by an absolute majority vote.
When in deliberations opinions are divided and the required absolute majority vote is not attained, the vote is repeated.
If the necessary votes are not obtained after the third round, the presiding judge shall inform the president of the court who immediately invites to the deliberations, another judge who must adhere to one of the opinions already given.
However, a judge or judges who do not agree with the majority opinion may write their dissenting opinions which form part of the judgment and are recorded after the signatures of the members of the panel. Such opinion is not pronounced in public.
Article 146: Draft judgement
When the absolute majority vote is attained, the draft of the judgement shall be prepared and signed by the trial judges, including the dissenting judge.
When the case was tried by one judge, he/she shall prepare its draft and thereafter sign it.
The draft shall become a definitive judgement after its pronouncement in public.
Section 2 : Pronouncement of judgement
Article 147: Pronouncement of judgement in public
At all times, a judgment shall be pronounced in public, otherwise it becomes null.
The judgement must contain grounds in law and in fact.
It must justify the rejection of the evidence produced and the value it attributes to the different types of evidence produced in court.
The judgement shall indicate all the legal provisions it was based on in deciding the case.
The original copy of judgement shall bear the signatures of the judge or judges who rendered the judgement and that of the court registrar who was present at its delivery.
The date of judgement shall be the one of its pronouncement.
Article 148: Pronouncement of a written judgement
Every judgement shall be pronounced in the presence of the judge or judges who rendered it and should be written thoroughly.
However, if one or some of the judges who took part in the deliberations and signed on the draft judgement are absent on the date of pronouncement, it shall not hinder its pronouncement. The court registrar records on the pronouncement copy that the judgment was pronounced in the absence of one or some of the judges.
However, if such a judge is not available because he/she is no longer a judge in the court that adjudicated the case, the pronouncement shall be suspended and the hearings shall be reopened and the President of the court shall make the replacement of the judge who no longer serves at that court.
Article 149: limitation for pronouncement of a judgement
All judgments must be written and pronounced within one (1) month period of the closing of hearings. Failure to do so may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the trial judges.
Pronouncement of judgement may be done immediately after the hearing when the judge finds it necessary. In that case the judgement can be pronounced without being written in its entirety.
However, if the pronouncement of the judgment does not take place within the time provided for in Paragraph One of this Article for justifiable reasons, the President of the court shall report that matter to the immediate superior court and it shall be mentioned on the copy of judgement.
If one of the parties was not notified of the date of the pronouncement of the judgement or was not represented, he/she is notified of the decision by a court registrar or bailiff in accordance with the ordinary procedure regarding notification of judicial documents.
Article 150: Judgement ordering an operation
Any judgment that has been rendered, even only for preliminary which order an activity to which parties must attend, shall indicate the place, date and hour when the event is to be
Article 151: Contents of a judgement
Any judgment shall contain:
1° the name of the court that delivered it;
2° the names and identities of the parties, their plaintiff or defendant status, their domicile or residence;
3° the subject matter of litigation;
4° allegations of the parties;
5° the grounds in facts and in law;
6° the decision of the court;
7° the date and place of judgement;
8° the name of the judge or judges who delivered it;
9° the territorial jurisdiction of the court that delivered it;
10° if the hearing was conducted in public or in camera and its pronouncement in public.
Article 152: Applications for interpretation or correction of a judgement
Applications for an interpretation or correction of a judgment shall be made before the court which rendered the judgment and examined by a judge who rendered the judgement.When it is not possible the case is given to another judge.
Article 153: Rules of application for interpretation or correction of a judgement
Applications mentioned in the Article 152 of this Law shall be made in accordance with the ordinary rules regarding the filing of cases. However, they are exempted from the payment of court fees.
Article 154: Hearing of an application for correction or interpretation
Applications seeking to rectify an apparent error on the record or clarifying a decision which is ambiguous or susceptible to divergent interpretation shall be decided in camera without adversarial arguments and without alteration regarding the winning party, explanatory notes on how the case was ruled, and what the law stipulates as well as the decision taken by court.
The judgement interpreting or rectifying a previous judgement complementing the interpreted judgement shall not be subject to appeal unless it is done at the same time with the main suit.
The period for appeal on both cases runs from the day of delivering the judgement interpreting another one.
TITLE IV: PROCEDURES FOR APPEAL
CHAPTER ONE: ORDINARY PROCEDURE OF APPEAL
Section One: Opposition
Article 155: Opposition
An opposition seeks to have a default judgement reviewed and is acceptable only to a defendant who did not appear.
Article 156: Admissibility of opposition
An opposition shall be accepted only when the defendant who failed to appear presents an exceptional and serious reason for his/her absence.
The court hearing the claim alone has the discretion to appreciate the alleged grounds for failure to appear.
In any case, no one may apply for a new opposition of a case that has been already reviewed.
Article 157: Parties allowed to apply for opposition
An application for opposition shall be instituted by a party, his/her counsel or by his/her legal representative. It shall be done either by oral or written declaration recorded by the court registrar of the court that rendered the contested judgment.
The application for opposition shall contain a summary of the grounds for opposition.
The date of the application of the opposition shall be that of the declaration by the applicant in the office of the court registrar, or that of the receipt of the written application by the court registrar.
The application of opposition may also be made by the applicant on the order demanding him/her to pay, on the minutes of the warranty, and on any other judgement execution orders, but on condition that the applicant submits to the court registrar, a summary of the grounds for the application for opposition within fifteen (15) days.
The court registrar who receives the application for opposition shall summon the original plaintiff in the manner and time provided for in the procedures governing summoning of parties.
Article 158: Status of parties in opposition
In opposition, the parties shall remain with their original status in the trial; the plaintiff remains plaintiff and the defendant remains defendant.
However, if the party who made opposition is the only one who appears, the court shall make its decision based on the elements contained in former judgement and the grounds of defense of the opposing party.
When a party who requested for the opposition defaults to appear in court, the other party may request for the confirmation of the first judgement without prejudice to the fact that he/she can ask for the damages equivalent to the costs incurred.
Article 159: Time to apply for opposition
An application for opposition may be made within fifteen (15) days from when a defendant in person gets notice of the judgment.
If the notice of judgement was not served on the defendant in person, the application for opposition may be made within fifteen (15) days from the date the judgement came to the knowledge of that person who was notified.
If it cannot be established that he/she was notified of the judgment in person, he/she may make an application for opposition within fifteen (15) days from the date on which he/she knew about the first act of the execution of judgement.
In no case shall an application for opposition be received if the judgement has been executed.
Article 160: Effects of the judgement upon opposition
An opposition seeks a new judgement on the issues decided by default, from the same court, based on facts and law.
The judgement that is subject to opposition shall be quashed only by the resulting new judgment.
Article 161: Suspending the execution of a default judgment as a result of opposition
The execution of a default judgment shall be suspended during the time period provided for opposition except if the court determines that it shall be provisionally executed.
Opposition made in the procedure and time period provided for by the Law shall suspend the execution of judgement, unless the court determines a provisional execution.
Section 2: Appeal
Article 162: Party with the capacity to appeal
Any person who was a party to the proceedings in the first instance may appeal the judgement if he/she has an interest therein, except when the law provides otherwise.
However, the appeal against an interlocutory judgement shall be made only jointly with the final judgement. In this case, the time limit for appealing against the interlocutory judgment starts running from the date on which the final judgment was notified to the party.
Article 163: Time limit for lodging an appeal
The time limit for lodging an appeal shall be one (1) month. That time shall start running from the day the final judgment was pronounced in presence of both parties or when the party did not appear after having been notified of the day of the pronouncement.
However, regarding judgements rendered in absence of one of the parties, such period shall start running from the date he/ she was notified after receiving the notification letter in person or served at his/her domicile or residence or to a person who resides at his/her home who is at least sixteen (16) years of age.
If the defendant has no known residence or domicile, he/she shall be notified of the judgement by public procedure mentioned in Article 40 of this Law. The first day of that public procedure shall be the starting point of the calculation of the time limit of the appeal.
Article 164: Form of appeal
An appeal shall be instituted by a party, his/her counsel or his/her specially authorised representative, by means of oral or written declarations addressed either to the court registrar or the President of the appeal court or of the court which rendered the contested judgement. The court registrar who receives an oral declaration of appeal immediately puts it into writing.
The date of the appeal shall be the date on which the court registrar or the President of the court receives the appeal.
The court registrar of the court that rendered judgement who receives the declaration of appeal shall inform the registrar of the appeal court and transmit the complete file to him/her within one (1) week.
If the appeal is transmitted to the registrar of the appeal court, he/she shall immediately notify the court that rendered the judgement requesting it to send the case file.
Article 165: Contents of an application for appeal
An application for appeal shall contain the identities of the appellant and of the respondent, indicate the judgement challenged and the court that rendered it, the appeal court and, if necessary, the procedural acts that may determine the subject matter and the grounds of appeal.
The document relating to an appeal shall be filed in the registry of the Court by the appellant in person, by the appellant`s counsel, by registered mail addressed to the Chief Registrar of the Court or by electronic means. Upon receipt of an appeal, it shall be registered in the register reserved for the purpose. The appellant shall be given an acknowledgement of receipt of the appeal.
The appellant shall also submit all the necessary information to the court registrar of the appeal court or its baillif so that he/she may summon the respondent to appear before the appeal court.
Article 166: Inadmissibility of an appeal
The court registrar shall not accept the appeal to be recorded in the register where:
1° he/she establishes that no court fees were paid;
2° the appeal delayed in accordance with the law;
3° it was no longer possible to lodge an appeal.
Article 167: Filing a cross appeal
The respondent may also file a cross appeal before or during hearings, even if he/she did not protest anything when he/she was served with a copy of the final judgment.
A cross appeal may be filed by the respondent against the appellant or against other
respondents.It shall not be solely based on obtaining compensation.
A cross appeal may not be received if the principal appeal was not received or was struck off from the court register. It shall be admissible if it is not different from the filed case.
A cross appeal shall not be subject to the deposit of court fees.
Article 168: Prohibition to file new claims at the appeal level
No new claim may be lodged at the appeal level, unless it concerns compensation or the new claim constitutes a defence to the principal action before the appeal court.
However, parties may claim interests, rents and other accessories which were realised since the pronouncement of the judgement and moral damages for the loss suffered from the time the judgement was delivered.
It is not prohibited to submit in appeal new arguments or elements of evidence that were not heard at the first level.
Article 169: Effect of an appeal to return to the former situation of a case
An appeal shall have the effect of returning to the situation a case as it was before the pronouncement of challenged judgment, but only as to issues that are the subject matter of appeal.
Article 170: Effects of limiting the appeal court on the subject matter
The subject matter to be decided by the appeal court shall be limited to what is in the appeal. The court may only decide on the issues brought forth by the appellant and respondent at the appeal level.
Article 171: Overruling the appealed decision
When the appeal court overrules the appealled judgement, the court shall hear the case in substance unless the overruling was done because there were irregularities in lodging the appeal or for lack of jurisdiction.
Article 172: Court annulling the appealed judgement
The court which annuls the appealed judgement shall not hear it. The parties may, however, file a new claim at the first level court where there is possibility of correcting the errors made.
Article 173: Suspension of execution of judgment in the appeal time limit
The execution of a judgment shall be suspended during the time limit of lodging an appeal provided by the law except if provisional execution has been ordered by the judge.
Appeal against a judgement if respected shall suspend its execution, except if that judgement ordered for its provisional execution or if it has been ordered by the superior court before deciding on it.
Article 174: Other applicable laws before appeal courts
Unless otherwise provided for by this Section, other provisions that are applicable before first instance courts shall also apply to the courts of appeal.
CHAPTER II: EXTRAORDINARY PROCEDURES OF APPEAL
Section one : Opposition by a third party
Article 175: Third party opposition
A third party opposition seeks to quash or change a judgement to the benefit of the third party appealing against it. It brings back into question, as relative to the applicant, the issues challenged to be re-examined based on facts and law.
Article 176: Persons allowed to make a third party opposition
Any person who was not a party to a case but who has an interest in it may make a third party application to set aside a judgement which is prejudicial to his/her rights and if neither he/she nor the person he/she represents were called at the trial.
The provisions of the Paragraph One of this Article shall not apply to the spouse of the either party or their children when the subject
matter is the family property.
Article 177: Third opposition against several joint parties
If there is indivisibility as to several parties in regards to the judgment being attacked, the third party opposition shall be accepted only if all the parties are summoned to the hearing.
Article 178: Judgement subject to third party opposition
Any judgement shall be subject to third party opposition, unless otherwise provided by the Law.
Article 179: Time limit for filing a third party opposition
If the third party was served with notice of the judgment, the time limit for filing a third party opposition shall be two (2) months from the date of the notification. Likewise, if it can be proved that he/she had knowledge of the judgment, the time limit for filing the third party opposition shall be two (2) months from the date he/she was notified thereof.
Article 180: Procedure for third party opposition
A third party opposition which attacks the judgement in principal action shall be brought before the court which rendered the contested judgement.
When the third party opposition is made at the appeal level the case shall be considered as a case in appeal.
A third party opposition which is incidental to a case already pending before a court is not subject to the payment of court fees, and is made to such a court if it is at the same level or superior to the one which rendered the judgement. If the court is not at the same level or is not superior to the one that rendered the judgement, the third party opposition shall be subject to payment of court fees.
An opposition by a third party shall not automatically suspend execution of the challenged judgement, unless the execution is suspended by the court upon request of one of the parties.
Article 181: Hearing of a third party opposition
The court to which the contested judgment is referred may, depending on the circumstances, proceed with the hearing or suspend it.
Article 182: Effects of judgement accepting grounds of a third party opposition
The judgement which accepts the grounds of a third party application alters or reverses the challenged judgement only on the points which are prejudicial to the applicant, unless the execution of the challenged judgement is in contradiction with the execution of the new judgement.
If the changes are only as to the provisions that were prejudicial to the third party, the previous judgment remains in force between the parties even as to the provisions that were quashed.
However, the final court decisions in the third party opposition shall be binding on all parties who were called before the court for the hearing even if they defaulted to appear.
Article 183: Procedures of appeal against a third party opposition judgement
A judgment rendered following a third party opposition shall be subject to the same procedures of appeal applicable to other judgments.
Section 2: Case review
Article 184: Application for review
An application for review seeks to have a final judgment quashed and redecided on the facts and the law.
Article 185: Parties allowed to apply for review
An application for review can only be made by persons who were parties to or represented in the challenged judgment.
Article 186: Reasons for application for review
An application for review can be made due to one of the following reasons:
1° if there was fraud that had effects on the judgment and it was unknown to the losing party during the course of the proceedings;
2° if the judgment was based on pieces of evidence, testimony or oaths which were subsequently recognised or declared by the court to be false;
3°if, since the time of rendering the judgment, it was evident that there was injustice due to the judgement for which the review is sought, whether an element of evidence was in the file but was not noticed by the court or was revealed later;
4° if the decision was based on a criminal judgement which was subsequently quashed;
5° if the judgment is based on procedural done in the name of a person who did not explicitly or implicitly grant permission to approve or confirm what was done.
6° if, during the hearing, there were errors committed based on confusion about the situation of facts or basing on a non existing law.
Article 187: Time limit to apply for review
The time limit within which to apply for review shall be two (2) months starting from the date of the discovery of the fact giving rise to the review.
This time limit shall not apply to persons declared incapable during the period of their incapacity.
In the case of the death of a party having the right to sue for review before the time allowed for its application has run, this time limit shall be extended by twelve (12) months in favour of his/her heirs.
Article 188: Filing an application for review
The rules relating to the payment of court fees shall apply to the application for review.
An application for review shall be instituted through the same procedure as ordinary proceedings. When it is instituted at the appeal level, it shall be considered as a case in appeal.
Article 189: Competent court for applications for review
The application for review of a final judgment shall be brought before the same court that rendered it but with a judge or judges that did not preside over the hearing.
If it is incidental to a case pending before a court other than the one which rendered the contested judgment, the judges shall separate and refer the substance matter of the objection to the competent court in accordance with the Paragraph One of this Article in order to have the issue determined on merits unless, depending on other circumstances, they decide to suspend or disrespect the case, dismiss the incidental proceeding and proceed with the original suit.
Article 190: Execution of a contested judgement pending the application for review
An application for review shall not prevent the execution of the contested judgment, unless the execution has been suspended by the court to which the review has been referred for justified reasons.
Article 191: Admissibility of the application for review
If the review is admitted, the final judgement shall be quashed and the court which heard the application decides the case on merits in its entirety.
If the review is admitted on one issue, only that issue shall be reviewed, except when it serves the basis for others.
If the review is not admitted, the judgement rejecting the review shall order that the first judgement be executed exactly in accordance with its form and terms with no alteration whatsoever.
Article 192: Inadmissibility of the application for review
An application for review of a final judgement shall not be admitted if it seeks the review of a judgement rendered upon application for review. It shall also not be admitted if it is related to the judgement that rejected the review or the judgement that was rendered after the admission of the review.
Article 193: lack of procedures of appeal against decision on the application for review
The decision on the application for review shall not be subject to any procedure of appeal.
TITLE V: SURETY AND EXECUTION OF JUDGEMENTS
CHAPTER ONE: EXECUTION OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS AND ACTS
Section One: General provisions
Article 194: Security on movable and immovable assets
The movable and immovable assets of a debtor shall constitute a common and general security of his/her creditors without prejudice to privileges and securities.
Article 195: Purpose of execution of judgments or acts
The execution of judgments and acts are intended to provide their beneficiary with the privileges of his/ her right, either in kind or the equivalent.
Article 196: Voluntary execution of a judgement or act
The execution is voluntary when the debtor pays voluntarily the sum due. Otherwise, a compulsory execution shall occur in accordance with the legal provisions and with the role of relevant public authorities.
Article 197: Compulsory execution of a judgement or act
Compulsory execution of a judgment, regardless of the form it may take, can only occur if the document authorizing it is drawn and delivered in conformity with the law and with the role of those public authorities provided for by the law and bearing an enforcement formula.
Article 198: Enforcement orders
Enforcement orders shall be judgements and other court orders, arbitral awards, authentic deeds containing clauses permitting creditors to sell mortgaged property without recourse to judicial proceedings, public tender contracts, authentic foreign deeds and judgements bearing the exequatur formula by a competent Rwandan judicial authority.
Acts mentioned in paragraph One of this Article shall not be subject to compulsory execution unless they bear the enforcement formula and be signed by a court registrar, a judge or another competent public officer generally with powers to do so by the executing power.
Article 199: Enforcement formula
The enforcement formula to be affixed to copies of judicial decisions and acts to be executed without judgement shall be in the following nature:
«The Republic of Rwanda, in the name of the People of Rwanda ……….»
And shall end in the following terms:
And for these reasons, the Republic of Rwanda informs and orders all court balliffs, upon request, to execute:
– this judgement – this court order -this authentic deed executed without a judgement – this public tender contract – this authentic deed issued in a foreign country – this judgment rendered in foreign country – this arbitral award.
It also requests Prosecutors to assist the bailiffs in fulfilment of such function and all public security officers to offer support to all those court balllifs if requested to do so.
« In witness whereof, this -judgment….. -ordinance…… – enforcement authentic deed … – Public tender contract…..
– authentic deed issued in a foreign country;
-judgment rendered in a foreign country…….; – arbitral award….
Signed by ……………..»
In affixing the enforcement formula to a copy of judgment or other documents and orders, unnecessary mentions shall be deleted where applicable.
Article 200: Assistance from administrative authorities and security forces
Administrative authorities and security forces, legally requested to do so shall assist court bailiffs charged with the execution of judicial decisions and other legal instruments bearing the enforcement formula.
Article 201: Staff in charge of execution of judgements, orders and writs with an executory formula
Those are empowered to execute judicial decisions, orders and acts affixed with the executory formula shall be:
1° Profesional court bailiffs appointed by an order of the Minister in charge of Justice;
2° Non profesional court bailiffs who are the following: a. the Director of prison;
- Executive Secretary of the District;
- Executive Secretary of the Sector;
- Executive Secretary of the Cell;
- Officer of the Ministry in charge of enforcement of judgement;
- Assistant coordinators of Access to Justice Bureaus
- other officials determined by law.
Article 202: Period for executing judicial decisions or acts bearing the executory formula
Judicial decisions and acts affixed with the executory formula shall be executed in a period not exceeding three (3) months of the date the winning party or one with the court’s order so requests or from the date the act affixed with enforcement formula is received.
Failure to comply with the time limits provided for by paragraph One of this Article shall be liable to a civil fine of twenty thousand Rwandan (20,000) to one hundred thousand francs (100,000) francs without prejudice to payment of due damages to the injured party as well as other penalties provided for by the Law.
Section 2: Voluntary or compulsory enforcement of a judgement or act
Article 203: Modalities of executing court decisions or acts
Judgments must be executed in the manner and time limits provided for in their rulings.
Article 204: Exequatur
Except where international agreements provide otherwise, judgements ruled by foreign courts and foreign deeds issued by foreign officials shall not be subject to execution in Rwanda, unless they are rendered enforceable by the competent Court.
Article 205: Execution of court decisions rendered and deeds made in Rwanda
Judgments rendered and deeds made in Rwanda mentioned in Article 198 of this Law shall be enforceable on all the territory of the Republic of Rwanda, even if the execution takes place outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the court which rendered the judgements or outside the District which passed the deeds.
Article 206: Judgments pronouncing a release, cancellation of an inscription or payment
Judgments pronouncing a release, the cancellation of an inscription, a payment or any other act to be accomplished by a third party or under his/her responsibility shall not be enforceable by or against such third party except after the court has seen an authentic copy of the judgment and the notification thereof to the concerned party.
Article 207: Seizure of movable and immovable property
There shall be no seizure of movable or immovable property unless the person has an enforceable title of a liquid, certain and payable debt.
If the payable debt is not a sum of money, all proceedings subsequent to the seizure shall be suspended until it is evaluated.
Article 208: Disputes regarding the execution of a judgement
Disputes regarding the execution of judgement shall be brought before the court that rendered the final judgment or that made a foreign judgement enforceable in Rwanda. The court decides thereon within fifteen (15) days of the date of receipt of the application.
Such judgements shall not be subject to appeal.
Article 209: Attack or harassment against officer executing a court decision
An execution officer subject to any attack or harassment while exercising his/her duties shall make a statement of the resistance against him/her and refer it to the judicial police.
Section 3: Provisional execution of a judgement
Article 210: Prohibition of provisional execution of judgement
Provisional execution of a judgement is prohibited :
1° in matters relating to all costs that was incurred in the course of trial;
2° in civil status cases;
3° in matters relating to immovable property if it is the object of the litigation;
4° in all other matters and instances provided for by the law.
Article 211: Case of compulsory provisional execution
Provisional execution may be made even if it has not been ordered by the court, for those decisions which require immediate execution as of right, especially in orders given upon:
1° court decision on summary proceedings;
2° provisional aplications given by one party to the case;
3° applications for maintenance allowance and custody of children in divorce cases;
4° judgments given in bankruptcy cases;
5° rulings which provide for protective measures in the course of proceedings.
Article 212: Provisional execution ordered by court
Provisional execution order shall be issued by the court on its own motion, even without a security if:
1°the evidence of litigation is an authentic deed;
2°the matter of litigation is the debt acknowledged by the debtor in the case.
Article 213: Provisional execution upon application by a party
Notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 210, 211 and 212 of this Law, provisional execution may be authorized, upon application by a party, on the whole or part of the awarded, if it is found that lack of the provisional execution is likely to result into irreparable damage to the person applying for it. The judgement ordering the provisional execution shall justify the type of irreparable damage the one who applies for it is likely to suffer if not granted.
When the court authorizes provisional execution provided for in paragraph One of this Article, it may order the party who applied for the execution to furnish enough security to meet all the possible refund and reparations. The security furnished by the party who applied for the provisional execution shall be restituted to the owner as soon as the debtor pays his/her deposit.
The court shall determine, depending on what the applicant for the provisional execution offers, the amount and nature of the security to be deposited which may be in the form of a guarantor, an amount of money or a security deposit of valuables.
Article 214: Suspension of provisional execution before the appeal court
A debtor may request suspension of provisional execution before an appeal court in the following ways:
1° to request the suspension of the provisional execution because it has been ordered in a manner that is inconsistent with the law;
2° a security deposit of valuable sufficient to cover the principal amount of the penalty, interest and costs awarded;
3° only part of the total damages awarded by the provisional execution to be paid if the execution on the whole amount is unjustified.
The judge designated to hear such urgent requests of provisional execution of judgements shall do it in accordance with procedures for summary judgements.
The judge shall render his/her decision in forty-eight (48) hours after the closing of hearings.
The claim requesting for the provisional execution of judgement submitted during the appeal is considered as a claim at the appeal level and not appealable.
The judge who examines the suspension of a provisional judgement cannot reject it on the pretext that the appeal was delayed.
Article 215: Deposit of securities
The deposits of securities mentioned in Articles 213 and 214 of this Law shall be kept in a special deposit account maintained in the National Bank of Rwanda or in one of its accounts maintained in other banks, in accordance with the terms provided for by the judgement.
Section 4: Penalty forcing the execution
Article 216: Sentence to pay a fine for delay payment
Upon request by one of the parties, during trial of civil, commercial and labor cases a judge may, provide a sentence to the adversary to pay a fine for delay payment calculated on daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis in case of failure to respect the merits of judgement without prejudice to payment of a fine of moral damages if necessary.
The payment for arrears provided in the paragraph One of this Article shall start to be calculated from the date following the one on which the judgement is no longer subject to appeal. Article 217: Admissibility of a claim requesting the penalty forcing the execution
The claim intended for the penalty forcing the execution shall be admitted even if it is on the first instance or during the appeal level.
Article 218: Approval of the amount of money paid for the penalty forcing the execution
A judge may order that the penalty forcing the execution is a net amount of money or an amount of money that shall be paid in a period he / she shall determine.
A judge may also approve a limited amount of money for the punishment forcing the execution of a judgement.
Article 219: Determining the time upon which the forced execution is suspended
Upon request by the party ordered to forcibly execute the judgement, a judge that has granted a punishment to execute the judgement may determine time upon which the execution shall be suspended.
Article 220 : Canceling or suspending the penalty of forced execution of judgement
The court that imposed the penalty may, upon summary proceedings by the penalised person cancel, suspend it during a specified period or reduce it, if the person ordered to pay finds it
temporarily or permanently impossible to pay the total or part of the principal penalty awarded.
In so much as the penalty was acquired before the impossibility occurred, the court shall not cancel or reduce it.
Article 221: Effect of a penalty during the bankruptcy
The penalty of forced execution of judgement is without effect during the bankruptcy of the person ordered to pay.
The penalities ordered before the final judgement shall not be made part of the liabilities of the bankrupt.
Article 222: Cease of the penalty of a fixed sum
The penalty of a fixed sum per unit of time shall cease accumulating at the death of the person ordered to pay, but those penalities due before the death remain outstanding. The penalties shall not apply against heirs and other beneficiaries of the estate until the court that imposed them has ordered so. The court may change the amount payable and the mode of payment.
Penalties to force the execution may, upon application by heirs and other beneficiaries, be cancelled or reduced by the trial court, either temporarily or permanently, and if necessary, with effect from the date of death of the person ordered to pay.
CHAPTER II: SEIZURE OF MOVABLE PROPERTY
Section One: Provisional seizure
Sub-section One: General provisional seizure
Article 223: Provisional seizure with or without enforcement order
Any creditor, even without an enforcement order, but with the authorisation of the President of a Primary Court may seize the movable property of his/her debtor.
Article 224: Court order for provisional seizure
An order for provisional seizure shall be issued by the President of the court if there are serious reasons to fear for the removal or deterioration of the movable property of the debtor or serious reasons to believe that it is the procedure best suited to effect the execution being sought.
Provisional seizure shall become invalid if it is not followed by the filing of the claim before a competent court within forty- eight (48) hours.
The judgment on merits of the case shall convert the provisional seizure into distraint.
It shall be followed by a public auction in the form provided for distraint.
Article 225: Provisions governing provisional seizure
With the exception of special provisions applicable to provisional seizure, the rules contained in this Sub-section shall be applicable to all types of provisional seizure.
Sub section 2: Special provisional seizure
- Provisional seizure by garnishment
Article 226: Third party provisional seizure by garnishment
The President of the competent court within the juridiction of the residence of a debtor or an involved third party may, upon application by the creditor, permit third party provisional seizure by garnishment, to be held in custody of a third party, of the sum of money or movable property belonging to the debtor in favour of the creditor in order to prevent their changing hands.
An order of the President of the court may authorise the third party provisional seizure by garnishment only if the creditor holds an authentic or private title enabling him/her the request this or if he/she can otherwise prove that the debt is certain, due, liquidable or can immediately and provisionally be ascertained by the president of the court.
The president of the court shall give the order within forty-eight (48) hours after the application.
Article 227: Writ for provisional seizure by garnishment
The provisional seizure by garnishment shall be brought into effect by a court bailiff’s writ. Such document shall mention the deed or the order of the authorised seizure.
Article 228: Effect of a writ for seizure by garnishment
From the moment of receiving a writ for seizure by garnishment, the third party in possession of the attached property shall not be allowed to part with the money or valuables that make up the attached property, or otherwise he / she could be himself /herself considered as a debtor without prejudice to damages and interest he/ she may be ordered to pay to the creditor if necessary.
Article 229: Informing the debtor of the application for seizure by garnishment
Within a period of forty-eight (48) hours following the seizure garnishment, the garnishor shall, through the court bailiff, inform the debtor against whom garnishment has been made and summon him / her to a competent court.
If the garnishor fails to file the case to the court within the specified period, the seizure by garnishment shall become invalid.
If the garnishee has not been informed of this application, parting with the money or other valuable property that had been subject to the garnishment shall remain valid.
Article 230: Lifting the seizure
The debtor whose property has been attached may apply to the court for withdrawal. This application shall be made by way of chamber summons served upon the garnishor and the garnishee shall be informed.
Article 231: Competent court to order the lifting of seizure
Applications for lifting of seizure shall be filed in the court which is competent to try the case on which the seizure is based.
Article 232: Ordering the ganishee to declare the value of seized property
The garnishee may be ordered by a court balliff to declare his/her value of goods in his/her possession once the seizure by garnishment has been ordered.
Article 233: Declaration of a garnishee of goods in his/her possession
The garnishee shall declare what property he/she has in custody and certify its truth to the court registrar of the court that is to try the case on the debt on which the garnishment is based.
He/she may also make this declaration at the bottom of the summons ordering him/her to declare the property in his / her custody or by registered letter addressed to the court registrar.
Article 234: Detailed explanation of seized movable property
If the seizure concerns movable property, the garnishee must attach to his/her declaration, a detailed inventory, indicating the conditions of each piece of property.
Article 235: Value of the property seized is superior to the value of the debt
If it is proved that the value of the property attached by garnishment is greater than the debt, the seizure shall be valid only as to the value equal to the debt.
- Seizure a tenant’s movable property
Article 236: Definition of seizure of tenant’s movable property
The seizure of a tenant’s property is a seizure, intended to protect the lessor, by allowing him/ her to have the property in the rented premises placed under the control of the court and ultimately sold after the final judgment.
Article 237: Attaching objects and other goods found in the leased buildings and on the land
Owners and principal tenants of houses, land, or other goods, which are leased, may, in order to recover unpaid rents and dues, attach objects and other goods found in the leased buildings and on the land, or which were removed without their consent.
Article 238: Provisions governing seizure of tenant’s property
The seizure of tenant’s property shall be made in the manner prescribed for distraint and converted into a distraint after judgement of the principal claim.
- Seizure of an itinerant’s property
Article 239: Definition of the seizure of an itinerant’s property
The seizure of goods of an itinerant is the provisional seizure of an itinerant debtor and who does not reside in the District of the creditor’s residence.
Article 240: Seizure of an itinerant’s property without enforceable order
If there is no enforcement order, the distrainor must first obtain permission to effect the seizure on application addressed to the President of the nearest court and which is competent as the one responsible for hearing such claims.
However, if the seizure of an itinerant’s property is urgent, it may start from the seized property in the authority mentioned in Article 201 of this Law but the garnishee is required to have deposited the property to the court in a period not exceeding forty-eight (48) hours, which shall immediately issue.
Article 241: Procedure of seizure of an itinerant’s property
The seizure of goods of an itinerant shall be governed by the procedure applicable to seizure of goods, except that court order to pay, the time limit and all other preliminary formalities shall be simplified due to the risk that the itinerant debtor may free and the attachable property be removed.
Article 242: Turning seizure of an itinerant’s property into distraint
Once the formalities of the seizure are completed, the distrainor must make an application for confirmation before a competent court within forty eight (48) hours of seizure.
The definitive judgment on the principal suit shall turn the seizure into distraint if the plaintiff wins the case.
- seizure of recovered property
Article 243: Definition of seizure of recovered property
The seizure of recovered property is the procedure whereby the person having a right to recover movable property held by a third party attempts to have it placed in the hands of the court in order to ensure its preservation until he/she will be able once again to enjoy it.
Article 244: Use of seizure of recovered property
The seizure of recovered property shall be used every time that a person has a right to follow and retrieve his or her property, particularly when it has been stolen, lost, converted, alienated, used against his/her will, when a seller has not been paid for his/her goods or when the property in a house securing its guarantee were removed without the consent of the landlord.
Article 245: Seizure of recovered property which is not based on an enforcement order
In order to be valid, the seizure of recovered property that is not based on an enforcement order must be authorised by an order of the President of the nearest Primary Court. The order shall be issued upon request. If the formality may delay the owner of the property to recover it as soon as possible, he/she shall seek the nearest administration authorities of the Sector or, District and thereafter apply to the court in a period not exceeding forty-eight (48) hours.
Article 246: Competent court for seizure of recovered property
The application to confirm a seizure of recoverable property shall be brought before the Primary Court of the place where the property being attached is situated and, if it is connected to a case that is already pending, to the court before which the case is pending.
Article 247: Provisions governing the seizure of recovered property
The seizure of recovered property shall be made in the same manner as seizure of goods, with the exception that there is no prior requirement of an order by the president of the court and that the custodian and the garnishor may be appointed as their custodians.
Article 248: Requirements for a person wanting to recover his/her property seized
For the plaintiff to have a definite right to recover his/her property, he/she must, after having taken all the required protective measures, file the case before a competent court within forty-eight (48) hours.
Article 249: Final judgement asserting the right of a plaintiff
If a final judgment asserts the right of a plaintiff to recover his/her property, instead of ordering its auction, it shall order its restitution to the plaintiff or to put them in their original conditions.
- Commercial seizure
Article 250: Definition of commercial seizure
Commercial seizure shall be made in favour of:
1° the bearer of a bill of exchange, a promissory note or an unpaid cheque at maturity, and that were confirmed to have not been paid;
2° a creditor whose right is based on a legal commercial transaction, in all cases which require expedition, on condition that the debt be of a commercial nature, although security may be required from the creditor.
Article 251: Commercial seizure in the absence of an enforcement order
In the absence of an enforcement order, the commercial seizure shall be authorised by an order of the President of the Commercial court of the place where the seizure is supposed to take place.
Article 252: Sale of seized goods
If a creditor wants to sell the seized goods but has no enforcement order, he/she must first sue the debtor before a competent court for the purposes of obtaining the enforcement order.
Once he/she has obtained an enforcement order, he/she follows the procedure applicable to the distraint, without prejudice to special rules prescribed by the commercial laws.
Section 2: Distraint
Sub-section One : General distraint
Article 253: Forced enforcement
If a losing party does not voluntarily comply with the execution of the judgment within the required time limit, a forced enforcement shall be made on his/her property by means of seizure and auctioning. He/she also pays the incurred cost during the execution of the judgement.
Article 254: Court order to pay
Any distraint shall be preceded by a court order to pay made at least in twenty-four (24) hours prior to the seizure, and containing notice of the enforcement order if it had not already been notified.
Article 255: Parties to be present during the seizure
The court bailiff shall proceed with the seizure in the presence of the distrainee, the distrainor and two witnesses, who sign or who shall initial fingerprint on the original copy of the seizure document. However, the absence of the distrainee, the distrainor and the witnesses do not lead to the nullity of the seizure.
Article 256: Content of the statement of seizure
The statement of seizure shall contain, apart from ordinary declarations common to all court bailiffs’ writs, a new order to pay and, if the seizure is made in the presence of the distrainee, a detailed description of the property being seized and an indication of the date of sale. A copy of the minutes shall be remitted to the party being seized in the ordinary manner prescribed for summons.
Article 257: Seizure of property used in the operations of a business or of lands
In the case of the seizure of property used in the operations of a business or of lands, the President of the Primary Court may, upon request by the distrainer, name a manager for continuing the operations after hearing or summoning the owner or the distrainee.
Article 258: Seizure where doors are closed
If the doors are closed or access is voluntarily refused, the court bailiff shall seek assistance from security organs to open by force. Where acts of violence or resistance are made against the court balliff, the latter shall make a statement of such diversion and submit it to the judicial police.
Article 259: Appointment of a custodian of a seized property
The court balliff may appoint a custodian of seized property to whom a copy of the statement of the seizure shall be remitted.
The statement shall be signed or bear a fingerprint of the custodian or a mention be made of the reasons preventing him/her from signing.
The custodian may not, under penalty of damages, use or benefit from the property under his/her custodianship.
The cost of custodianship shall be met by the party that lost the case.
Article 260: Unseizable movable property
The seizure of that portion of movable property which would expose the debtor to extreme poverty or make him / her dependent on the community, shall not permitted.
The following shall not be subject to seizure :
1° necessary beddings and clothings of the distrainee and his / her family;
2° tools which are essential for the vital activity, profession, trade or personal undertakings of the distrainee of which in their absence he / she and his / her family may not survive;
3° two thirds (2/3) of the food required for the life and survival of the distrainee and his / her family;
4° quota of the total remuneration declared unattachable by labor laws and one third (1/3) of the pension of a worker who does not have any other means of subsistence.
Article 261: Verifying the existence and state of seized property
A court bailiff may on his / her own initiative or upon request by the distrainer, verify the existence of the seized property and their state.
Article 262: Penalties
The distrainee and any other third person who steals, diverts, uses, damages or destroys property knowing that it has been seized shall be punished in accordance with the penal code provisions.
Article 263: Period for auctioning seized property
The seized property cannot be auctioned before the expiry of five (5) days starting from the day the auction is scheduled.
If the sale does not take place on the date of the auction, the court bailiff shall set another date for it and announce that date to the public.
Before the sale of movable or immovable property with a value that exceeds three millions (3,000,000) Rwandan francs, the court bailiff has to look for an expert in property valuation. Fees allocated to the expert shall be approved by the President of the Court who ordered for public auction, and shall be deducted from the sale price.
Article 264: Auction modalities
The auction shall be conducted in a laud voice by a person who is authorised to conduct auctions, and the payment shall be effected immediately.
The property being auctioned shall be given to the highest bidder. The successful purchaser shall, after payment of auction price, enter in possession of the purchased movable property and register it in his/her name after giving a copy of the deed of sale to the competent organ.
Article 265: Responsibility of a court bailiff
A court bailiff who shall not demand payment of the sold property and not re-auction it in case of non-payment is personally liable for the price.
Article 266: Statement of the auction
All steps regarding the sale, even if they are preparatory, as well as the presence or absence of the distrainee shall be recorded in the statement of the report.
Article 267: Staying the auction
When it is obvious that the seized property under sale is likely to be sold at a too low price, the court bailiff, upon request by the distrainer, the distrainee, may postpone the auction to another day.
In that case, the public auctioneer shall set another day of auction not to exceed fifteen (15) days and shall take all necessary precautions to protect the interests of the parties.
The auction must then take place on the set date whatsoever.
Article 268: Objecting the sale of seized property
A person who claims to be the owner of all or part of the seized property may object to their sale by a written statement addressed to the President of the court that heard the case or an oral statement made in the court registry and notify the distrainer and the distrainee and the court bailiff at least before the auction ends, and shall produce clear proofs of ownership; failure to do so shall render the claim invalid.
In a period not exceeding fourty eight (48) hours, he/ she shall submit his/her claim to the Primary Court of the place where the auction shall be conducted in accordance with the ordinary procedure of filing a claim.
The Primary Court of where properties seized shall render the judgment in a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days. If the complainant who claims the ownership of the property loses, he/she shall be ordered to pay damages to the distrainer. The judgement shall be provisionally executed even if there is an appeal.
Article 269: Competent person to conduct public auction
Public auction is conducted by a court bailiff or by any other person authorised to do so by the Minister in charge of justice.
Sub-section 2: Special distraint
- Final seizure by garnishment
Article 270: Final seizure by garnishment operated by a creditor with an enforcement order
Any creditor with an enforcement order may, by virtue of a court bailiff’s writ, proceed to effect the final third party debt order on sums and other movable property of his/her debtor that are in the hands of a third party.
The seizure may also be made on debts due, conditional debts or debts pending in litigation belonging to the debtor.
Article 271: Effects of receiving a final order of seizure by garnishment
From the time of receiving a final order of seizure by garnishment, the garnishee shall not be allowed to part with the sums or other property which are the subject of seizures. If the garnishee does not observe it, he/she shall be regarded as the debtor who led to the seizure, without prejudice to damages which he/ she may be ordered to pay to the creditor if necessary.
Article 272:Declaration of the amount of money or property subject to seizure
Without exceeding a period of forty- eight (48) hours for the final seizure by garnishment, the garnishee shall be bound to declare the amount of money or property he / she holds which are the subject matter of seizure. The liability of the garnishee shall be determined by his/ her declaration and if it is disputed, by an order of the court determining the property.
Article 273: Party objecting the declared value of the property
When the garnishee declares amounts of money or objects not corresponding to those which were seized, the objecting party shall notify the other party by way of summons through the competent court within eight (8) days of the notification of the objection.
He / she shall also notify the garnishee so that if necessary he/she may be forced to intervene in the case. If the court accepts the distrainer’s objection, it shall order the garnishee to pay civil damages equivalent to the amount or value of the property.
Article 274: Absence of objection to the declaration or no application for redeeming the seized property
If there is no objection to the declaration, or to application for redeeming the seized property:
1° when the declaration relates to an amount of money, the declared amount shall be given to the bailiff who in turn shall hand it over to the distrainer up to the amount owed or by deducting the amount owed with the remaining given to the owner;
2° the movable property shall be sold in accordance with rules that govern the distraint.
Article 275: Suing the garnishee
If the declaration from the garnishee is disputed, the garnishee shall be sued before the competent court and the case shall be heard within fifteen (15) days.
Article 276: Notification of seizure by garnishment to the Government or public or private legal entities
The seizure by garnishment of a debt or property owed by the government that should be paid shall be notified to the Attorney General.
Notice of seizure by garnishment relating to a debt or property owed by other incorporated private or public legal entities shall be given to their statutory representatives.
Such statutory representatives shall sign on the original copy of the writ and shall make a written declaration as provided for in Articles 233 and 234 of this Law.
Article 277: Punishing the garnishee
A garnishee who pays in disregard of the regulations of seizure or declares an amount which is less than the real value or who does not make any declaration at all may be ordered to pay the debt which is the subject matter of the seizure.
Ingingo ya 278: Seizure of property due to non payment of taxes
When the court bailiff is sent for seizure of property because of debts from non payment of taxes, after receiving the report of seizure, the debtor shall go to his/her creditor institution or state agency in a period not exceeding furty-height (48) hours for signing a convention on modalities of payment.This convention is made before the bailiff who has made the seizure, and he/she must pay at least one-fourth ( ¼) of the total debt. If the agreement is not reached, the property is seized and auctioned after fifteen (15) days.
- Seizure of standing crops
Article 279: Definition of seizure of standing crops
Seizure of standing crops is a distraint covering fruits, which are attached to the branches or by roots before their harvesting.
Until the date of their harvesting or their sale, the custody of the seized fruits may be entrusted to the distrainee, the distrainer or to a third party.
Article 280: Definition of seizure of income from assigned property or pension benefits
The seizure of income of the assigned property or pension benefits is a means of enforcement whereby a creditor stops and seizes in the hands of a third party, debtor of income, interests and pension and arrears due or which may become due.
Article 281: Conditions of validity of the seizure of income of assigned property or pension benefits
The seizure of income of assigned property or pension benefits shall be valid only if the debt owed is certain, liquid and payable by virtue of the enforcement order.
Article 282: Effects of the notification of the order to pay
After notification of the order to pay which contains an enforcement order, it shall be possible to proceed with the seizure of pension benefits of the debtor, which are in the hands of the grantor of pension benefits.
The creditor must notify the distrainee of the writ of seizure by garnishment in accordance with the procedure of attachment and distraint, failing which the seizure shall be disqualified.
CHAPTER III: CONSERVATORY MEASURES AND SEIZURE OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY
Section One: Conservatory measures
Article 283: Preventing the transfer of the immovable property
Any creditor or interested party may submit a request to the Registrar of land titles or to the Sector or the District Executive Secretary in the area the property is located in order to prevent any transfer of the immovable property belonging to the debtor.
If no case is filed in court within one (1) month from the date of the application, the application shall become void.
Notification of the application must be made known to the debtor whose property is sought to be seized, in the usual manner and form.
Section 2: Distraint on immovable property
Article 284: Applying for distraint on immovable property
The creditor cannot apply for the seizure of immovable property of his/her debtor without basing on the documents referred to in Article 198 of this Law.
Article 285: Possibility seizure of immovable property
Seizure of immovable property may be made only when the value of the movable property of the debtor is not sufficient to cover the debt and court fees except where an agreement contains a clause permitting the creditor to sell mortgaged property without recourse to judicial proceedings.
Article 286: Seizure of recorded and non recorded immovable property
The seizure of immovable property is made in the hands of the Registrar of land titles when it concerns rights to immovable property recorded in the land register. The court bailiff, at the request of the creditor seeking the seizure of immovable property, shall requestsin writing to the Registrar a copy of the certificate from the registry of land titles.
The employee referred to under Paragraph 2 of this Article, whom the request is addressed to must submit a copy in a period not exceeding five (5) days. If he/she refuses to submit the aforementioned copy he/she may be subject to legal action for damages instituted by the victim.
Article 287: Ducuments required from a creditor who wishes to undertake the seizure of immovable property
A creditor who wishes to undertake the seizure of immovable property, shall request in writing the Registrar of land titles the copy of the property from the land registry or in its absence, an official public deed confirming that the immovable property does indeed belong to the debtor.
Article 288: Order to pay
The seizure of immovable property must be preceded by an order to pay delivered to the debtor in person or deposited at his/her residence or domicile or a place he/ she prefers to be his/her home, or in case of his/her absence to a person of at least sixteen (16) years old who resides at debtor’s home, in accordance with the ordinary procedure regarding summons and service of court process.
The order should be publicised in order to be valid.
Article 289: Seizure of immovable property belonging to several joint owners
If the immovable property belongs to several joint owners, the creditor shall first apply to court for its partition or sale.
Article 290: Contents of an order to pay
The order to pay shall contain:
1° a reference to the enforcement order and the amount of the debt being claimed;
2° a copy of the certificate from the land register or the public deed mentioned in Article 198 of this Law;
3° a warning to the effect that if payment is not made within the required time limit, which should not be less than fifteen (15) days and not more than one (1) month from the date of this notice, the order to pay would be transformed into a distraint;
4° a precise description of the immovable property and an indication of the amount the distrainer may offer on such a property that did not get a higher bid than the one he/she offers; 5° a copy of the enforcement warrant on which the seizure is sought.
Article 291: Person to whom the copy of the order to pay is sent
A copy of the order to pay shall be sent to the Registrar of land titles or the Executive Secretary of the Sector or District so that from that moment he / she orders the property to be registered or be given to another person, even if there is no prior application to that effect.
Article 292: Leases for unspecified duration
Leases for an unspecified duration existing on the date of the order to pay may be cancelled upon application by the creditor or the purchaser.
Any lease granted by the debtor after the date of the order to pay shall become automatically void if the creditor or purchaser refuses to recognise it.
Article 293: Alienation of immovable property and establishment of any charge related to it
The alienation of immovable property and the establishment of any charges related to it by the debtor after being served with the order to pay or objection shall be automatically void unless the acquirer deposits in the hands of a government accountant an amount which is equal to the debt and costs which are supposed to be paid to the distrainer.
Article 294:Seizure prohibited on the house of a destitute
The house of a destitute and half an acre of surrounding farmland necessary for the survival of the distrainee and his / her family may not be seized unless it is proven that he/ she possesses or is able to acquire another house or farmland without being turned into a pauper and becoming dependent on the community.
Article 295: Publication of the public auction
Upon request by the distrainer, and after verification that all the formalities for seizure have been met, the President of the Primary Court of the place where the auction will take place, or the President of Commercial Court, for execution of a judgement delivered by a commercial court, fixes the date and place of sale, the places where it must be publicised by posting, and the conditions under which the posting is to take place.
The order of the President of the court shall also be publicised, at least fifteen (15) days before the public auction, in one public newspaper and in another independent countrywide read newspaper determined by the President of the court or through the radio or television or any other technology.
The President of the Primary Court or the President of Commercial Court may also determine other measures to give more publicity to the auction.
Article 296: Posting advertisements of public auctions
A public auctioneer shall not proceed with the posting of advertisements, until fifteen (15) days after expiry of the period specified in the order to pay. The document for posting shall be boldly written, conspicuous letters which are capable of attracting the attention of anyone who sees it. The advertisement should be accompanied with an indication of the fixed minimum price the distrainer would accept.
There must be a period of one (1) month from the date of the posting and the date fixed for the auction.
Article 297: Day and hour of the public auction
The public auctioneer shall conduct the sale on fixed date and hour.
Article 298: Auction price
Before the auction, the public auctioneer shall start declaring to the bidders the minimum bid required to purchase and declare the auction open.
Article 299: Termination of the bidder’s obligations
A bidder shall not obliged to pay the price he / she offers if another tenders a higher price.
Article 300: End of the auction
The purchase can only be made if, after the last bid, five (5) minutes elapse without another bid being offered. The last bidder shall then be declared the purchaser for the price offered.
Article 301: Adjournment of a public auction ordered by a court
A public auctioneer may adjourn an auction to another date upon being shown a court order to suspend the sale before the auction ends. The court order shall not be issued to the creditor, the distrainee, or any other interested party unless he/she presents serious and duly proven grounds.
The public auctioneer shall adjourn the sale to another date on his/her own motion if, there are no at least five (5) bidders in attendance, but on the fixed date, it shall not be adjourned again for the same reason.
The new auction shall take place on the date decided by public auctioneer at earliest fifteen (15) days and not later than thirty (30) days from the date of the adjournment. In the interval, at least within fifteen (15) days before the auction, a new advertisement shall be made in the same manner as the first.
Article 302: Postponment of auction requested by one party
If the creditor or the debtor considers that the price being offered is insufficient, they may request that final auction be postponed to another date which should not be later than one month after the first session of auction. The public auctioneer shall fix a new date. The auction must then take place on the set date whatsoever.
Article 303: Closing the auction of several pieces of immovable property or several divisible parts of one piece of immovable property
If public auction is conducted on several pieces of immovable property, or several divisible parts of one piece of immovable property,it shall be closed if there is availability of enough amount to cover the debt and court fees.
Article 304: Auction of several immovables or several parts of a piece of immovable property
If several pieces of immovable property or several parts of a piece of immovable property are seized, the distrainee debtor whose property has been seized always shall have the right to indicate to the auctioneer the order according to which the properties are to be sold.
Article 305: Right of the distrainee debtor owns several pieces of immovable property
If the distrainee debtor owns several pieces of immovable property, only part of which was the subject of seizure, he/she shall be entitled to make an urgent application to the court to order the creditor to seize the property that has not been seized to enable him/her to enjoy the right provided for under Article 304 of this Law.
Article 306: Deeds of the auction and terms of payment of auction price
The court bailiff responsible for the public auction shall issue the deed of the auction; an original copy of the deed of auction shall be given to the successful purchaser upon production of the proof that he/she paid the required amount of money charged during the auction.
The successful purchaser of movable or immovable property shall make payment within one (1) working day after the auction and the payment shall be made into a bank account of the Intermediate Court in the jurisdiction of which the public auction took place.
The successful purchaser of immovable property may, once the formalities referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article have been completed, enter in possession of the purchased immovable property and register it in his/her name after giving a copy of the deed of sale to the Registrar of land titles.
Article 307: Payment of the creditor
The creditor shall be paid by the accountant of the Intermediate Court that received the money from the auction after deduction of court fees, the remaining amount shall be given back to the proprietor of the property sold, in case there are no other persons to be paid after fifteen (15) days.
Article 308: Sharing the proceeds of the auction
Creditors other than the distrainer who applied for seizure may share in the distribution of the proceeds of the sale only after having the liquidity and certainty of the debts in an enforcement warrant.
The creditors who take part in the distribution shall be the ones who shall present a copy of the enforcement order referred to under paragraph one of this Article to the accounting office of the court within a period not to exceeding fifteen (15) days from the date of auction. Distribution shall be made only after the expiration of this time limit.
CHAPTER IV: COMMON PROVISIONS TO ALL TYPES OF SEIZURE BASED ON ENFORCEMENT ORDER
Article 309: Resolving procedural difficulties occurred in the course of seizure
All procedural difficulties that may occur in the course of seizure shall be resolved by the ruling of the President of the Primary Court or the president of the commercial court for the execution of judgment delivered by a commercial court.
Such claims shall be heard following the procedure of unilateral request.
However, that decision shall be appealable within a period of fifteen (15) days starting from the date on which parties were notified thereof.
Article 310: Payment of secured and unsecured creditors
Issues relating to payment by order and contribution of secured and unsecured creditors shall be resolved by the Primary Court or by the Commercial Court with regard to the execution of judgements rendered by commercial courts of the place where the sale took place.
If the known creditors cannot agree on how to share the proceeds of the sale, the President of the court may, if requested, orders their appearance in order to determine the distribution among them, in accordance with how they legally rank in priority and considering each one’s role.
If the creditors are in the same rank, the distribution shall be conducted in accordance with the role of each creditor on the debt. In case of different ranks among them, the distribution shall be made in their order of priority.
Upon acceptance of such sharing, an order determining the order of priority of creditors and each one’s share shall be made. This order shall be the basis of the accountant of an Intermediate Court in payment of every creditor.
Article 311: Disagreement on the distribution carried out by the President of the court
In case there is a disagreement by any of the creditors on how the distribution of the proceeds of the sale was carried out by the President of the Court, he /she may file a claim in the Primary Court or in the Commercial Court when the judgement executed was rendered by the Commercial Court of the place of sale in accordance with the ordinary procedure regarding the filing of claims.
In that case, the distribution shall be adjourned and the case determined in a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days. This case shall be subject to appeal only once. Article 312: Reauctioning the property
If the highest bidder does not pay as he/she agreed, the property shall be reauctioned. He/she shall be bound to make up the difference, which ought to result from the second auction, but not entitled to claim any surplus if the second price is higher.
Article 313: Redemption of seized property
Any distrainee debtor may, at any time, redeem the seized property by paying to the court’s account, a sum sufficient to satisfy the principal debt which led to the seizure, interests and costs and specifying that the sum is meant to satisfy the debt of the distrainer, if the rights of the latter are subsequently recognised.
The payment of the deposit shall not imply the recognition of the debt.
Article 314: Right to redeem the seized property
Any person shall have the right to redeem the seized property by satisfying the damages and the costs of the seizure, as long as it is made before the end of the sale, in the interests and with the consent of the debtor.
Article 315 : Prohibition to the distrainer to appropriate seized property
A distrainer cannot appropriate the seized property without participating in the auction like others.
TITLE VI: SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER ONE: PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO CIVIL AND LABOUR CASES
Section one: Provisions relating to summary procedure
Article 316: Competent court in terms of summary procedure
When there is need to have a interim ruling on a matter which requires urgent resolution, an action shall be filed in accordance with the ordinary procedure regarding principal suits, before an urgent applications judge in the jurisdiction where the urgent measure is required in accordance with ordinary summons procedure.
Article 317: Summary procedure judges
The President of the Primary Court or another designated judge shall hear summary procedure cases that fall within the jurisdiction of that Court and thereafter take a decision.
The President of the Intermediate Court, Commercial Court or another designated judge shall hear summary procedure cases that fall within the jurisdiction of that court and thereafter take a decision.
The President of the High Court, the Commercial High Court or another designated judge shall hear summary procedure cases that fall within the jurisdiction of that court and thereafter take a decision.
Article 318: Period of summons
The period of summons for summary procedure shall be at least two (2) working days. If the defendant is neither domiciled nor a resident in Rwanda, the time shall be extended to fifteen (15) days.
Article 319: Hearing and rendering summary procedure order
Summary procedure claims shall be heard in public session with adversarial arguments from both parties.
The judge’s order shall be delivered within forty-eight (48) hours from the time of the closing of hearing.
Article 320: Examining summary procedure claims
The summary procedure judge shall decide by way of orders, but without prejudicing the merits of the principal suit.
The summary procedure judge shall first examine, before deciding, whether he/she is competent to hear the summary procedure claim submitted to him/her and possible exceptions that may arise from that case.
However, the summary procedure judge shall not be obliged to first examine whether the principal application falls within the jurisdiction of the court before which the summary procedure is lodged.
Damages and related expenses incurred by the party during the hearing of summary procedure shall be claimed together with the principal application.
Article 321: Provisional execution of summary procedure orders
Summary procedure orders shall be subject to provisional execution, notwithstanding any pending application for opposition or appeal and without any security unless the judge so orders.
Article 322: Opposition and appeal against summary procedure orders
The deadline for applying for opposition to a summary procedure order is five (5) working days from the day the accused is notified of the order to the defendant.
The appeal shall be made in fifteen (15) working days from the time the order was delivered if both parties were present or were notified of the order in accordance with Article 34 of this Law.
Appeals against summary procedure orders shall be heard in a court immediately superior and only once.
Other procedures for appeal provided for by the law shall not be applicable with respect to summary procedure claims.
Article 323: Summary procedure in administrative and commercial affairs
Unless this Law provides otherwise, this section shall apply to summary procedure claims in administrative and commercial cases.
Section 2: Exparte application
Article 324: Definition of exparte application
Exparte application shall be a special way to seize the court by requesting it to take urgent measures to safeguard the interests of the applicant without necessarily the intervention of the other party.
Article 325: Scope of exparte application
Exparte application shall be applied in all matters, even commercial or administrative, of provisional measures and seizure and in other matters requiring an urgent decision without necessarily filing a principal claim.
However, a party that opts for an exparte application shall no longer have the right to use the the summary procedure and viceversa.
Article 326: Filing an exparte application
An exparte application shall be filed following the ordinary way of filing cases.
Article 327: Summoning of parties
The judge to whom an exparte application is referred shall verify the application and, if necessary, summon the applicant and all other parties to be heard in chambers within fortyeight (48) hours.
Summoning of the parties to the hearing shall be done by the court registrar following the ordinary summoning procedures.
Such applications shall be heard in chambers without the hearing in open court.
However, rendering the judgement shall be done in public.
Article 328: Provisional execution of the judge’s order
The judge’s order shall be subject to provisional execution even if there is a pending appeal, and without furnishing security, unless the judge has decided otherwise.
Article 329: Appeal against the order
An appeal against the order shall be lodged within five (15) days from the date the parties were notified of the order and for only once.
Article 330: Third party opposition against the order
Any person who did not intervene in proceedings may, within one (1) month after receiving the notice, file a third party opposition against the judge’s order, if it adversely affects his/her interests.
In that case, other ordinary provisions relating to third party opposition shall be applicable.
Article 331: Modification and revocation of the order
The applicant or intervening party may, if circumstances have changed, file an application for modification or revocation of the order to the judge who issued it, provided the third party`s rights are secured.
Section 3: Joint application by parties
Article 332: Definition and elements of the joint application
A joint application by parties is a joint document by which the parties submit to the judge, their points of disagreement.
The application shall be made in writing or oral statement and contain:
1°the identity of the parties;
2°the court the application is referred to;
3°the detailed documents and evidence on which the application is based;
4°the date and signatures of the applicants.
The application shall be taken as submissions by parties.
The application shall be made following the ordinary way of filing actions with a joint application signed by all parties.
Article 333: Taking decision and appeal
The Court before which a joint application is made shall decide only on points on which parties disagree, within five (5) days of the date of the application.
An appeal against or opposition to such decision shall be made according to normal legal procedures.
CHAPTER II: PROCEDURES IN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
Section one: Application for annulment of administrative decisions and full jurisdiction action
Sub section One: Action for annulment of administrative decisions
Article 334: Filing a case
A case may be filed in the administrative court of first instance by a written or oral application, presented to the court registry either by the applicant himself/ herself or his/her counsel or by any other person duly authorised by him/her.
An oral application shall be turned into a written statement by the court registrar and signed or shall bear a fingerprint by party who made it to ascertain its conformity to what he/she said.
Article 335: Contents of the claim
The claim shall contain the names and domicile or residential addresses of the parties, as well as a brief description of the facts and grounds of the claim and the arguments of the applicant if it is written.
The claim shall be accompanied with a proof of court fees deposit, a copy of the decision being challenged if it is written and a document justifying recourse to the immediate superior administrative authority. The claim shall be accompanied with as many copies as there are parties to the matter.
Article 336: Admissibility of the action for annulment of a decision
The action for annulment shall be accepted only if it relates to an explicit or implicit decision of an administrative authority.
Before filing a claim, the aggrieved party who is against the administrative decision shall be required to first lodge an informal appeal with the immediate superior authority vis-à-vis the one who took the concerned decision.
The authority shall be required to respond in a period of one (1) month which runs from the date he / she received the informal appeal. If he / she does not respond, the request shall be considered as if it is rejected.
In case the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, he/she has a period of six (6) months to file a claim which runs from the date when he/she received the response, and if there is no response, such a period shall start running after one (1) month mentioned in paragraph 3 of this Article.
Article 337: Recording claims in the court register
The claim, enclosed documents and defendant’s submissions shall be addressed to the court registrar. The claims shall be recorded to the court regsiter according to the order of submission. The claims and the enclosed documents shall be stamped with the date of receipt.
Article 338: Summoning of parties
After the claim is recorded in the court register, the date shall be set and notified to the parties in accordance with the ordinary procedure of summoning. The claim, its annex as well as submissions of the plaintiff are attached to the summons.
Article 339: Serving the summons
The summons shall be served at the headquarters of the respondent authority. The summons shall be handed in to the agent in charge of the mail.
Article 340: Consulting documents in the case file that cannot be moved
The parties or their counsels shall be allowed to consult the documents from the case files that could not be moved at the court register without taking them outside the court.
Article 341: Effects of an appeal against an administrative decision or suing in court
An appeal against an administrative decision or suing against an administrative decision in court shall not suspend its execution until the court rules on the matter. However, in case of emergency, a party may request the President of the court through exparte application to suspend the administrative decision being attacked if its execution would cause an irreparable harm.
The application for stay of execution of an administrative decision shall be made in a separate application from the principal one. It shall not require the deposit of court fees.
Sub section 2: Full jurisdiction action
Article 342: Action for damages
A party may file an administrative claim for compensation of the loss incurred while challenging an administrative decision that was taken against him/her.
A party may file a joint claim for damages together with a petition for the annulment of the illegal administative decision.
A party may as well file a separate claim for damages before an administrative court without requesting for the annulment of the illegal administrative decision by only proving the illegality of such a decision.
Section 2: Administrative penalty forcing execution
Article 343: Decision in administrative cases
When a court makes a decision in administrative cases, it may issue to an administrative organ, an order to do or an injunction restraining it from doing an action or operation, and prescribe a penalty for the non complicance with a determined date.
Article 344: Imposition of penalty forcing execution
The court may fix the penalty forcing execution at a determined amount or at a sum per unit of time.
When the court fixes the penalty forcing execution at an amount determined per unit of time, it may also determine the amount beyond which the penalty forcing execution lapses.
Article 345: Commencement of the penalty forcing execution
The penalty forcing execution shall not be executed before the final judgement is rendered.
Article 346: Cancellation or reduction of the penalty forcing execution
Upon application by the administrative organ ordered to pay penalty, the court may cancel, suspend for a specific period or reduce the penalty, if the responsible administrative organ is in a permanent or temporary, total or partial inability to comply with the initial order.
The trial court may not cancel or reduce the penalty forcing execution if the inability to comply came into being after the penalty forcing execution is already acquired.
Article 347: Period of paying the money fixed by the decision of court
When a judicial decision is final and binding against the Government, the Kigali City, a District or a Government institution or organ for the payment of a sum of money fixed by the decision, the amount must be paid within a period of six (6) months from the time of notification of the decision.
When the available funds are insufficient, payment may be made with the available funds. The outstanding balance should be provided for in the next budget and paid within the first six (6) months of the new fiscal year.
Article 348: Non execution of a judgement by an administrative authority
An administrative authority that fails to execute a court judgement may, upon application by an interested party, be summoned to the court that issued the decision to justify reasons of the noncompliance.
If the reasons are valid, the administrative authority may, depending on circumstances, be given an extended time limit within which to execute the judgement.
If the reasons are without merit or the time limit provided in paragraph 2 of this Article was not observed, the court that rendered the decision may impose a penalty for non compliance to an administrative authority for as long as the judgement remains unexecuted.
A claim against an administrative authority who failed to comply with the court judgement shall not be subject to payment of court fees.
Article 349: Provisions governing administrative cases
Without prejudice to provisions of this Chapter, any other matter relating to administrative cases shall comply with the ordinary procedure provided for by this Law.
CHAPTER III: PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO COMMERCIAL CASES
Section One: Opening of the hearing
Article 350: Registration in the commercial court register
All commercial cases filed in Commercial Courts and the Commercial High Court shall be registered in the commercial court registers. Commercial cases registered in the Commercial courts registers shall be heard on the date fixed by the President of the Commercial Court or of the Commercial High Court.
Article 351: Filing a claim
The plaintiff, his/her counsel, legal representative or proxy shall file a written commercial claim in form of a summons.
The summons shall:
1° specify in form of conclusions the remedies sought;
2° identify the names of the parties to the suit or other persons connected to it;
3° contain a summary of the nature of the claim in form of short numbered paragraphs and indicating the grounds on which it is premised;
The following documents shall accompany the summons depending on their availability:
1° a list of witnesses and a brief summary of evidence each witness shall give;
2° an expert report the plaintiff wishes to use as evidence;
3° any other document the plaintiff wishes to refer to.
Article 352: Submissions of the defendant
Submissions of the defendant shall contain explanations on what transpired and the grounds on which it is premised. Such submissions shall be served on court and a copy thereof given to the other party within fourteen (14) days from the date when the defendant was served with the plaint.
A copy of submissions for the plaintiff shall be served on him/her by the defendant where possible, the court registrar or the court bailiff.
Section 2: Preliminary hearing
Article 353: Setting a preliminary hearing
There shall be a preliminary hearing for making provisional orders to avoid incidents that may hinder the hearing, while they could have been identified and resolved in advance.
Article 354: Summoning of parties
The judge shall, within fourteen (14) days after the receipt of the summons by the defense, summon parties to a preliminary hearing of the case.
The judge shall, during the preliminary hearing, and in consultation with the parties to the case, prepare a schedule of events of the case.
Article 355: Orders made by the judge
During the proceedings of a case, the judge may make any of the following orders:
1° at his / her own initiative or at the request of one of the parties, rule that he/she has no jurisdiction over the case referred to him/her;
2° refer the parties to arbitrators or mediators in commercial matters provided such a reference is provided for in the contract between the parties; an order for such a transfer shall not be subject to appeal;
3° refer the matter to the mediation committee if the subject matter lies in its jurisdiction;
4° determine whether additional material facts on the claim or defence are required and the procedure to follow in relation to such a course of action;
5° request parties to clarify their written submissions either in general or on a particular issue;
6° request parties to present to the court evidence alluded to in the pleadings within a fixed period of time ;
7° request parties to present and transmit to court any report of a expert on the subject matter and to ensure that witnesses testify;
8° granting protective measures to protect interests of the parties;
9° proceeding with the preliminary hearing of the case to another date;
10° passing a judgment in respect to a matter without going into the substantive hearing after consulting the parties;
11° take any other order deemed necessary to expedite completion of the case;
Without prejudice to the provisions of part 9° paragraph one of this Article, if the judge concludes the preliminary hearing, he or she can decide to hear the matter immediately or refer the hearing to another date .
The judge may also decide to proceed with the conciliation of the parties where possible.
However, if conciliation does not succeed, the judge shall not examine the case on the merits.
Article 356: Adjournment of a preliminary hearing
There shall be no adjournment of a preliminary hearing unless a sufficient reason is presented to the court at least five working days (5) before the preliminary hearing date.
Section 3 : Hearing of a case on the merits
Article 357: A counterclaim and a claim against a guarantor
A counter claim and claim against a guarantor shall be instituted in writing before the conclusion of the preliminary hearing.
When a guarantor is sued, the judge will give such a party at least eight (8) days to prepare his/her defence. The summons calling the guarantor shall be done in accordance with Article 34 of this Law.
Article 358: Adjournment of a case
At any time before the final decision, the judge may at his / her own initiative or upon the request of any of the parties adjourn the case or take any other order deemed necessary.
If an adjournment is granted pursuant to a request by one of the parties and latter it is discovered that the reason for the adjournment was sound but intended to delay proceedings, the judge shall order such a party to pay damages to the other party and such damages shall be paid before the next hearing date. If a party ordered to pay damages does not pay by the next hearing date, he or she shall be subject to a rate payment penalty fee. The rate shall be determined by the interest rate of commercial banks as determined by the National Bank of Rwanda on 1st January of every year.
The late payments shall be calculated on a monthly basis starting from the day following the date on which damages were supposed to be paid till the date of payment. Each commenced month shall be considered a full month.
Article 359 : Orders that may be made when hearing of a case on the merits
The judge may during hearing a case on the merits make the following orders:
1° to determine whether proceedings shall be in public or in camera as a whole or partially;
2° to make orders in respect to their written legal arguments, if proceedings of the case are to be heard in public;
3° to determine whether evidence produced on every argument shall be oral or in written whether certified or not, if proceedings of the case are in camera;
4° to make an order whether such evidence is sufficient, after examining the evidence of witnesses or conclusions;
5° to encourage experts on the subject matter to seek dialogue with the view of making them settle the matter;
6° to appoint an expert to examine on behalf of the court any report of skilled persons or other evidence presented and to report to court on a date fixed by the judge;
7° upon request by the parties, pass judgment based on the written submissions or any other evidence without adversarial hearing.
TITLE VII : COURT FEES
CHAPTER ONE : DEPOSIT OF COURT FEES
Article 360: Depositing court fees
For the following types of actions, the court registrar shall not receive claims and register them in the relevant register unless parties exibit proofs as to depositing court fees as provided for by an Order of the Minister in charge of justice:
1° filing action;
2° opposition; 3° appeal;
4° third party opposition;
5°application for reintroduction of proceedings;
6° application for review;
7° voluntary interventions;
8° exparte application;
9° file a joint application;
10° filing a summary procedure.
If there is a dispute on the amount of court fees to be deposited, it shall be resolved by the President of the court.
All additional court fees which shall be ordered in the course of trial shall be determined by the court.
Article 361: Persons exempted from depositing court fees
The following persons are exempted from depositing court fees:
1° a destitute with a certificate of indigence issued by competent authority of their residence;
2° the Government of Rwanda, except its corporations with legal status;
3° a detained person.
Persons mentioned in this Article who do not pay court fees are also exonerated from paying court fees when they loose the case.
Article 362: Refunding court fees deposit
The court accountant who received the deposits shall deduct the court fees from the deposits of the losing party and refund him / her the remaining money on presentation of the receipt.
If the sum was deposited by the winning party, the court accountant shall refund him/her on presentation of a receipt, and the bailiff shall oblige the party ordered by the court to pay the costs to do so by the time the judgment is no longer appealable.
The losing party also must pay any additional costs as determined by the court.
The Court Registrar assesses court fees.
Court fees shall be deposited on the account of the District, if the judgement was rendered by the Primary Court or Intermediate Court. They shall be deposited in the Government treasury if the judgement was rendered by other courts.
The Minister in charge of justice shall determine modalities through which provisions of this Article shall be implemented.
No court fees deposit shall be refunded after six (6) months as of the date on which the judgement is ordered. Such deposit shall be put on public account and shall not be claimed for.
CHAPTER II: SCALE OF COURT FEES
Article 363: Determining the court documents and their price
The Minister in charge of Justice shall determine the court documents issued in all courts and fees applicable thereto.
Article 364: Delivering an authentic copy of judgement, an extract of the judgment, or a copy of judgment free of charge
If the President of the court which rendered the judgment confirms that a party is a destitute person, he/ she may order for an authentic copy of judgment, an extract of the judgment, or a copy of judgment free of charge. The fact that the document was given free of charge shall be indicated at the bottom of the issued document.
Article 365: Methods for calculating court proceedings related fees
An Order of the Minister in charge of justice sets the methods for calculating the allowances to be paid to witnesses, medical doctors, interpreters and other experts, as well as those of transportation of judges, court registrars and court bailiffs.
Article 366: Determining fees spent during the hearing
The allowances payable to witnesses, medical doctors, interpreters and other experts, and to the custodians of seized goods other than the distrainee, as well as the costs for transporting judges, court clerks and balliffs shall be determined by the trial bench after receiving documents that contain: 1° the date of request for the services and the name of the requesting judge;
2° the nature of the case and the names of the parties;
3° the nature, date and duration of the services rendered as well as the details surrounding their costs;
4° the date(s) and duration of the trips as well as the means of transport used;
5° if available, the bank account number and address of the beneficiary.
Allowances and fees referred in paragraph One of this Article shall be drawn from the Primary court, Intermediate court, High court, Commercial High Court or Supreme Court, Military tribunal or Military high Court treasury depending on the court that rendered the judgment and refunded by the losing party.
The court may, where necessary, request the parties to pay honoraries for experts and interpreters. The losing party shall refund to the winning party the honoraries paid to experts and interpreters.
TITLE VIII: SETTLEMENT BY ARBITRATORS
Article 367: Law governing arbitration
A specific law shall govern arbitration.
TITLE IX: MISCELLANEOUS, TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER ONE: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Article 368: Provisions governing fixed periods
Unless the law provides otherwise, time limits fixed in civil, commercial, labour and administrative cases shall be governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Article 369: Calculating time limits set in terms of days or hours
The time limits set in terms of days or hours shall be calculated from date to date, or hour to hour. The day of the act or event that gave rise to the claim is not taken into account but the day of expiration is included.
Article 370: Calculating official public holidays and week ends
Official public holidays and weekends shall not be included in computing the periods provided for by Article 369. However, if the last date on which an act is supposed to end is a public holiday, the expiry of the time limit shall be extended to the next working day.
Article 371: Counting periods fixed in months and years
The periods fixed in months and years shall be counted from the first date to the eve of the last day.
Article 372: Delay in filing an appeal
When a party delays in complying with time limits of procedures of appeal due to exceptional reasons that are beyond his/her control, the time limit for filing the appeal shall be extended until such reasons cease to exist.
CHAPTER II : TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Article 373: Law applicable to pending cases
Cases pending before courts at the time of publication of this Law shall be governed by provisions of this Law; however procedural acts already conducted before its publication shall remain valid.
Provisions of this Law shall not apply if they jeopardize the rights of a party recognized to him/her by the former law. In that case, the Law recognizing the party’s rights shall prevail.
Article 374 : Drafting, consideration and adoption of this Law
This Law was drafted in French, considered and adopted in Kinyarwanda.
Article 375: Repealing provision
Without prejudice to provisons of Paragraph 2 of Article 373 of this Law, Law n° 18/2004 of 20/06/2004 on the civil, commercial, labour and administrative code as modified and complemented to date, as well as all prior legal provisions contrary to this Law are hereby repealed.
Article 376: Commencement
This Law shall come into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda.
Kigli, on 14/06/2012
(sé) KAGAME Paul President of the Republic
(sé) Dr. HABUMUREMYI Pierre Damien Prime Minister
Seen and sealed with the Seal of the Republic:
(sé) KARUGARAMA Tharcisse Minister of Justice/Attorney General