Court name
Center for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution of Uganda
Judgment date
21 October 2014

Delta Industrial Equipement Ltd v Uchumu Supermarkets Ltd (CAD/ARB/-2014/12) [2014] UGCADER 2 (21 October 2014);

Cite this case
[2014] UGCADER 2

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THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
THE CENTRE FOR ARBITRATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION
(CADER)
CAD/ARB/ NO.12 OF 2014
DELTA INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT LTD …………. APPLICANT
VERSUS
UCHUMI SUPERMARKETS LIMITED ………… RESPONDENT
RULING
The parties executed the Memorandum of Sale on 5th December 2013.
The dispute resolution clause reads as follows,
“12. ARBITRATION:
If any dispute or difference shall arise between the
parties concerning this agreement and the parties are
unable to resolve it by negotiation, it shall be referred
to Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
(CADER) under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act
CAP 4 Laws of Uganda.”
The Affidavit of Service deposed by Ocitti Samuel evidences that the
Chamber Summons Application was served upon the Respondent. For
this reason the matter proceeded ex parte.
The Affidavit in support of the Application deposed by Islam Abou-Zid
evidences that notice to refer the matter to arbitration was given on 29th
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May 2014 through two letters, respectively titled “Demand Note/Notice
of Intention to Sue” and “Invitation to arbitrate”.
The deponent Islam Abou-Zid indicates that the Respondent paid a deaf
ear to either notice.
The problem with the dispute resolution clause is that the word arbitration
appears only once as the title on Para.12 and not within the narrative.
This manner in which Para.12 was drafted is no doubt troublesome.
My considered interpretation of the dispute resolution clause has led me
to the following conclusions.
1. Clause 12 provides for both negotiation and arbitration.
2. Arbitration is set out only in one word.
3. The reference to arbitration nothing but a terse statement.
4. Negotiation on the other hand is enclosed within a lengthy
narrative.
Imagine if the question were posed “where shall you refer the dispute”,
then the terse answer “arbitration!” would suffice.
Moreover S.2(1)(c) Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap.4 (ACA)
defines the essence of an arbitration agreement as “an agreement by the
parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen
or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal
relationship, whether contractual or not”.
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Therefore the S.2(1)(c) ACA definition cures any defect created by a
terse or rambling dispute resolution clause.
Further S.3(2) ACA stipulates that arbitration agreement shall be in
writing. This is the mandatory standard, not the manner in which
references to arbitration should be expressed or styled.
I am satisfied that the Respondent’s deaf ear treatment to the Applicant’s
requests to establish a tribunal, establishes the merits of this Application.
I shall accordingly appoint the arbitrator in the consequential Ruling.
Costs are awarded to the Applicant.
Delivered at Kampala on 21st October 2014.
………………………………………………………….
JIMMY MUYANJA,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.