Legal and Regulatory Framework

Eswatini operates a dual legal system, common law which is based on Roman Dutch law and customary law that is based on Swazi law. It has two distinct court systems, traditional courts (known as Swazi National courts) and common law courts. The court system includes the Supreme Court, a High Court and such specialised subordinate and Swazi courts or tribunals exercising a judicial function as Parliament may by law establish. The courts systems are designed in such a way that matters are dispensed with expeditiously. The judiciary has jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal, including matters related to the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Eswatini is established by the Court of Appeal Act 1954, it hears appeals from the High Court and exercises discretionary appellate review over cases originating in other courts. The High Court is established by the High Court Act 1954, it exercises original jurisdiction in most civil and criminal and can hear appeals from lower courts or tribunals.

Magistrates Courts are established under the Magistrate Courts Act 1993. The jurisdiction of each of these courts is limited by the amount of the claim. Judgement of Magistrates Courts may be appealed to the High Court. There are special courts, created by statute and with limited jurisdiction governed by the Industrial Relations Act 2000, the Industrial Court has broad jurisdiction over matters touching upon industrial relations. Decisions of the Industrial Court may be appealed to the Industrial Court of Appeal.

Swazi National Courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate minor criminal offences and minor civil disputes governed by customary law. The National Court system is governed by the Swazi National Courts Act of 1950 and includes Swazi Courts, Swazi Courts of Appeal, Higher Swazi Court of Appeal and the Judicial Commissioner. In this type of courts cases are dispensed with according to Swazi Law and Customary.

Generally, Swaziland has a supportive legal and regulatory framework for investment which is mindful of the essential interests of the State. The policy framework for regulation of the various sectors of the economy rest with the central government and may be allocated by the relevant line ministry to a department, parastatal, or board. The primary custodian of policy and regulation is the minister responsible for the relevant law. All laws, regulations, and policies are applied at a national level.

Laws applicable to business operations in the kingdom conform to international standards and best practices. Such laws are based on a framework of legislation relating to business activity such as company, copyrights, patents, trademarks amongst others. The Kingdom subscribes to a number of international Conventions such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Below are pieces of legislation which supports the business environment;

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