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Home The Judiciary Hierarchy High Court of Tanzania
High Court of Tanzania PDF Print E-mail


The High Court  was first  established by Article 17 (1) of the Tanganyika Order-in-Council, 1920, the High Court now derives its establishment from Article 108 (1) of the 1977 Union Constitution as the High Court of the United Republic.
Administratively, the High Court is headed by the Jaji Kiongozi (Principal Judge), a special assistant to the Chief Justice. Like other Judges of the High Court, the President appoints the Jaji Kiongozi. Since its establishment, the High Court has been headed by a total of seven Principal Judges namely:

1) The Hon. Mr.Judge Nassor Suleiman Mzavas -31/08/1979 – 17/06/1989

2) The Hon. Mr. Judge Barnabas Albert Samatta -17/06/1989 – 16/06/1997

3) The Hon. Mr. Judge Hamisi Amiri Msumi           -17/06/1997 – 14/07/2004

4) The Hon. Mr. Judge Amir.  R. Manento              -14/09/2004 - 31/01/2008

5) The Hon. Mr. Judge Salum. A. Massati               -02/02/2008 – 18/12/2008

6) The Hon. Mr. Judge Fakihi. A. R. Jundu              -14/02/2009 -  July 2014

7) The Hon. Mr Shaban Ally Lila                             -  July 2014  -  To date

Apart from Jaji Kiongozi, there are other Judges of the High Court who were appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission. These are 79 Judges, as shown in this High Court Judges link. Hon. Mr. Justice Frederick Mwita Werema was later appointed by the President as The Attorney General, and Hon Judge S. K. Mutungi was appointed as the Registrar of political parties in Tanzania the position that they holds to date.


The Court has unlimited Jurisdiction on both Civil and Criminal matters within Tanzania. In addition to the said original and jurisdiction, the High Court of Tanzania has an appellate, extended, revision and supervisory jurisdiction over subordinate Courts.
Appeals from the High Court are preferred to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania which is vested with powers, authority and jurisdiction of confirming, reversing or varying any decision made by the High Court.


The High Court has embarked upon reforms so as to speed up disposal of cases. One of these transformations is the introduction of specialized divisions of the High Court. These specialized divisions of the High are, the Commercial, Labour and Land divisions of the High Court.


Apart from those divisions of the High Court which have their own registries, there is the Main registry of the High Court and other 13 District Registries sometimes called zones of the High Court. Every High Court centre in thirteen High Court District Registries act as a sub-registry of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal  sits in any of those centers when it thinks fit.

Those 13 District Registries of the High Court are situated in Arusha, Bukoba, Dar Es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Mbeya, Moshi, Mtwara, Mwanza, Songea, Sumbawanga, Tabora, and Tanga. These Registries are manned by District Registrars. Dar Es Salaam District Registry  consists of three Regions and those are Dar Es Salaam itself, Coast and Morogoro.

It is the plan of the High Court of Tanzania to have District Registries in each and every Region of Tanzania mainland. Bellow the High Court, there are the Resident and District Magistrates-in-charge of Regions and Districts, respectively. A Primary Court Magistrate-in-charge mans the lowest level of the Judiciary.


The cardinal duty of the Judiciary of Tanzania is the dispensation of justice. When cases are registered by registry officers of the respective registries, are sent to the Judge-in-charges who assign them to Judges who conduct the cases according to the laws and their individual calender.

Usually the High Court of Tanzania registers an average of 7000 to 8000 cases annually.  For the period of 2009, the High Court received a total of 7743 as filed cases and decided 7517cases.In January 2010 there were 21,668 pending cases in the High Court main registry and its 13 District Registries.

Since High Court has original jurisdiction in election petitions, it has received a total of 38 election petitions filed after the October 2010 general elections. These petitions are involved with the disputes over the parliamentary election. In Mbeya District registry 3 cases has been filed, in Dar Es Salaam registry 3 cases, in Sumbawanga registry one case, in Dodoma registry 2 cases, in Moshi regisrtry 3 cases, in Tabora registry 9 cases, in Mwanza registry 7 cases, in Bukoba registry one case, in Iringa registry 2 cases, in Mtwara registry 5 cases and in Arusha registry 2 cases.


All projects of the High Court receive funds through vote 40 which is under the Court of appeal. There are two major projects of the High Court which are on phase two. These projects are the construction of the High Court building in Bukoba and Shinyanga. As said earlier they are at the second phase which is final.

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Roles and Functions

Interpreting diverse Laws and execution administrative decisions.

Hearing and deciding cases filed before the courts of law.

Educating members of the public of their rights obligations under the laws of the Tanzania.

Facilitating maintenances of peace and order through good governance and the rule of law.