Dispute Resolution in Lesotho

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Lesotho Law

The legal system is a combination of Roman-Dutch and English Common Law. The dispute resolution options available for aggrieved Parties are the following: 

  1. Litigation 
  2. Arbitration 
  3. Court annexed mediation 


Litigation in Lesotho 

The court structure in Lesotho is a three-tier system as follows:

  • Court of Appeal;
  • High Court; and
  • Subordinate courts

The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters, as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts. The High Court also acts in a number of capacities, including as a Commercial Court, a Constitutional Court, an Electoral Court, a Land Tribunal, and a Revenue Appeals Tribunal

Subordinate courts, comprising resident magistrate’s courts, judicial commissioner’s courts, and central and local courts, administer statute laws, while chiefs administer customary and tribal laws. 

Arbitration in Lesotho  

Arbitrations in Lesotho are conducted in accordance with the Arbitration Act of 1980. This is not based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. 

Lesotho accepts binding international arbitration of investment disputes as they have entered into bilateral investment agreements that provide for international arbitration.  The Courts of Lesotho’s accept and enforce foreign arbitral awards. 

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Lesotho is a member of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) and the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Mediation in Lesotho  

Court annexed mediation is the process whereby the rules of court require the parties to a dispute, after the initiation of litigation, participate in the mediation process before continuing with the litigation process. Therefore, mediation has become mandatory before the litigation process is continued with.

We offer the following related to dispute resolution in Lesotho:

Court terms

  • First Term – First Session

Starts on the first working day in February and ends on a Wednesday preceding Good Friday.

  • Second Term – First Session

Starts on a second Wednesday after Easter Monday and ends on the 15th June.

  • First Term – Second Session

Starts on the first working day in August and ends on the last working in September.

  • Second Term – Second Session

Starts on the 15th October and ends on the 15th December.

  • Proviso

No defended Civil Trial and no Criminal Trial shall be set down on the last week of any session without the leave of the Chief Justice as per the second High Court Rule 39(7).

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