Portland International (PTY) Ltd v Sembule Steel Mills Ltd & 2 Ors (CIVIL SUIT NO. 141 OF 2014) [2017] UGCOMMC 118 (3 October 2017);


Headnote and Holding: 

The defendants applied for credit facilities to obtain steel products from the plaintiff. The second and third defendants stood surety. The plaintiff contended that the defendants refused to pay for the steel products. The proceedings were for breach of contract, and special and general damages. The defendants denied concluding the contract, and argued the matter ought to be heard in South Africa.

The issues for determination were whether the court lacked jurisdiction; whether there was a contract between the parties; whether the defendants breached the contract; and whether second and third defendants were liable.

On the issue of jurisdiction, the court considered the agreement. It was clear that the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the High Court of South Africa, however the court held that the Constitution and Judicature Act provided it with unlimited original jurisdiction in all matters. Even when parties had an exclusive jurisdiction agreement, the High Court of Uganda still had jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter before it. 

Regarding the existence of the contract, the law required the plaintiff to prove the documents were signed by the second and third defendants. The court found that the plaintiff proved it entered into a valid contract with the defendants.

Whether the defendants breached the contract, the court held that the first defendant breached the contract by failing to pay for the goods, and that the second and third defendants were liable as sureties.

Plaintiff was awarded special and general damages.


Subscribe to RSS - Jurisdiction