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GENERAL LAWAMENDMENT ACT
Acts 8/1879, 17/1920, 27/1935, 37/1938 (s. 7), 11/1959, 16/1961, 29/1970 (s. 19), 57/1972 (s. 36), 41/1973,
24/1975 (s. 6), 40/1978, 2/1979 (s. 6), 29/1981 (s. 59), 15/1982, 31/1983 (s. 17), 3/2004 (s. 13), 8/2005 (s. 44),
6/2006 (s. 23).
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title.
MARITIME ANDMERCANTILE LAW
2. English law to prevail in maritime cases.
3. English law to prevail in cases of assurance, stoppage in transitu and bills of lading.
4. British statutes passed after 11/9/1879 not to apply.
5. Form of pleading, procedure and taking of evidence not altered.
6. Duties of marshal in Admiralty Court to be performed by Sheriff in other courts.
7. Leases not void through injury to property by war, inundation or tempest.
8. Law of laesio enormis repealed.
9. Certain laws relating to suretyship to cease to have effect.
10. Amendment of law in respect of formalities relating to donations.
11. Repeal of law relating to prohibition of donations between spouses.
11A Exclusion of in duplum rule in certain cases
12. Women may hold public or civil offices or appointments.
13. Qualifications rendering men and women equally eligible for certain public or civil offices.
14. Legitimation of adulterine children.
15. Reduction of age of majority from 21 to 18 years.
16. Abolition of quitrent.
AN ACT to alter the general law of Zimbabwe.
[Dates of commencement: 10th June, 1891, ss. 2 to 8;
1st April, 1959, s. 9;
1st January, 1979, ss. 10 and 11;
24th September, 1920, ss. 12 and 13;
30th June, 1961, s. 14;
10th December, 1982, s. 15;
31st May, 1935, s. 16.]
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the General Law Amendment Act [Chapter 8:07].
MARITIME AND MERCANTILE LAW
2 English law to prevail in Maritime cases
In all questions relating to maritime and shipping law in respect of which the High Court has jurisdiction, the
law of Zimbabwe shall be the same as the law of England, so far as the law of England is not repugnant to, or
inconsistent with, any enactment.
3 English law to prevail in cases of assurance, stoppage in transitu and bills of lading
(1) Subject to subsection (2), in any suit, action or cause having reference to questions of fire, life or marine
assurance, stoppage in transitu or bills of lading, which is brought in the High Court or in any other competent
court of Zimbabwe, the law administered by the High Court of Justice in England for the time being, so far as the
same is not repugnant to, or in conflict with, any Act, shall be the law to be administered in Zimbabwe by the
Supreme Court, the High Court or other competent court.
[Subsection as amended by section 13 of Act 3 of 2004]
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to any contract of fire, life or marine insurance entered into on
or after the date of commencement of the Insurance Amendment Act, 2004.
[Subsection inserted by section 13 of Act 3 of 2004]
4 British statutes passed after 11/9/1879 not to apply
Nothing in sections two and three shall have the effect of giving force within Zimbabwe to any statute passed
by the Parliament of the United Kingdom after the 11th September, 1879.
5 Form of pleading, procedure and taking of evidence not altered
Nothing in sections two and three shall have the effect of altering the rules and forms of pleading and
procedure, the mode of taking evidence or the manner of hearing and trying civil suits in force or in use in
Zimbabwe, or the
notarial practice of Zimbabwe, whether in regard to the suits, actions and causes mentioned in section two or
three or otherwise, or in any way or modifying, altering or interfering with the character or extent of the
jurisdiction now exercised by the several courts of Zimbabwe, or of imposing any duty imposed or to be imposed
in England for the purposes of the revenue.
6 Duties of marshal in Admiralty Court to be performed by Sheriff in other courts
The several duties assigned by the Admiralty Branch of the Supreme Court of Justice in England to the
marshal of the said court shall, in the case of shipping or maritime suits in the High Court, be executed by the
Sheriff of Zimbabwe or his lawful deputy, or if any such suit or action is brought in a magistrates court, then by
the messenger or other duly authorized officer of such court.
7 Leases not void through injury to property by war, inundation or tempest
In the absence of any special stipulation to the contrary contained in any contract of lease, no lease of land
shall become void or voidable, nor shall the rent accruing under such lease be incapable of being recovered, on the
ground that the property leased has, through war or insurrection or through inundation, tempest or such like
unavoidable misfortune, produced nothing, or on the ground that the lessor himself has absolute need of the land
or other property leased.
8 Law of laesio enormis repealed
No contract shall be void or voidable by reason merely of laesio enormis sustained by either of the parties to
9 Certain laws relating to suretyship to cease to have effect
The enactments of the Roman Law commonly known as the Senatus Consultum Velleianum and the
Authentica si qua mulier which, before the 1st April, 1959, formed part of the law of suretyship of Zimbabwe
shall cease to be of any force in Zimbabwe, and accordingly shall not apply with respect to any contract,
undertaking or transaction of suretyship, guarantee, intercessio or indemnity made, given or entered into on or
after that date.
10 Amendment of law in respect of formalities relating to donations
No contract of donation shall be invalid solely by reason of the fact that it is not registered or notarially
11 Repeal of law relating to prohibition of donations between spouses
The rule of the common law relating to the prohibition of contracts of donation between spouses is declared
to be no longer of any force.
11A Exclusion of in duplum rule in certain cases
(1) In this section
“Authority” means the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority established by the Revenue Authority Act
“Scheduled Acts” means
(a) the Income Tax Act [Chapter 23:06];
(b) any of the other Acts specified in the First Schedule to the Revenue Authority Act
(2) For the avoidance of doubt it is declared that the rule of the common law known as the in duplum rule
that prohibits the payment of outstanding interest in excess of the amount representing the capital or principal sum
of a debt does not apply to fiscal debts, that is, to debts by way of outstanding taxes or duties or penalties in
respect of the non-payment thereof that are owed to the Authority by a person liable to pay such taxes, duties or
penalties under the Scheduled Acts.
[Subsection substituted by Act 6 of 2006]
[Section inserted by section 44 of Act 8 of 2005 and repealed by Act 6 of 2005]
12 Women may hold public or civil offices or appointments
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any law, women may hold any public or civil office or
appointment, subject to the same conditions on which such offices may be held by men.
13 Qualifications rendering men and women equally eligible for certain public or civil offices
Qualifications which, when possessed by a man, render him eligible for admission to any civil or public office
in Zimbabwe, by virtue of the possession of such qualifications rendering him eligible for admission to a
corresponding office elsewhere, shall, when possessed by a woman, render such woman eligible for admiss ion to
any such office in Zimbabwe, subject to such terms and conditions as apply to men.
14 Legitimation of adulterine children
Where the father or mother of an illegitimate person was married to a third person when the illegitimate
person was born, and the parents of the illegitimate person marry or have married one another after the birth of
that person, the marriage shall render that person, if living, legitimate from the date of that person's birth.
15 Reduction of age of majority from 21 to 18 years
(1) On and after the 10th December, 1982, a person shall attain the legal age of majority on attaining
eighteen years of age.
(2) A person who immediately before the 10th December, 1982, has not attained the legal age of majority
shall on that date attain the legal age of majority if he or she has then already attained eighteen years of age.
(3) Subsections (1) and (2) shall apply for the purpose of any law, including customary laws and, in the
absence of a definition or any indication of a contrary intention for the construction of 'full age', 'major', 'majority',
'minor', 'minority' and similar expressions in-
(a) any enactment, whether passed or made before, on or after the 10th December, 1982; and
(b) any deed, will or other instrument of whatever nature made on or after that date.
(4) This section shall not affect the construction of any such expression as is referred to in subsection (3) in
any enactment relating to taxation or pensions.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent any person attaining his or her majority by operation of
law earlier than on attaining eighteen years of age.
16 Abolition of quitrent
The liability to pay quitrent to the State which, were it not for this section, would in terms of any law or any
deed of grant of any land fall due on or after the 31st December, 1934, is hereby extinguished.