I know that we always make promises, particularly for those who have not entered into marriage, to marry. However, i am afraid if we are conversant enough on the legal effects of those promises. Our law is not silent on this concept. The law of Marriage Act, Cap 29 RE:2002, under s. 69 (1) (hereinafter the law) covers it. The law empower a person to bring a suit in the court with competent jurisdiction for damages for the breach of a promise of marriage.
Further, the said promise should be made in Tanzania, although the breach may be occurred in Tanzania or elsewhere. The person who suppose to institute the suit is either the aggrieved party or, where that party is below the age of eighteen years, by his or her parent or guardian. However, the law prohibits the institution of the suit for the breach of promise to marry against a party who, at the time of the promise, was below the age of eighteen years. The aggrieved party has to note at the time of instituting that suit, that, the court will not award damages in excess of loss actually suffered as a result of expenditure incurred as a direct result of the promise.
Let it be noted that, the law recognizes the promises made outside Tanzania in that a suit may similarly be brought in respect of the breach of the said promise but only if such an action would lie under the law of that country as well as under our law. On the other hand, the law prohibits the institution of the suit for specific performance of a promise of marriage.
Further, under s. 70 of the law, the time which a person may institute the suit for breach of promise of marriage, is limited to not more than one year after the date of the breach.
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