Benin

Enforcing Contracts in

Benin

Below is a detailed summary of the efficiency of contract enforcement. It follows the evolution of a sale of goods dispute, tracking the time, cost and number of procedures involved from the moment the plaintiff files the lawsuit until actual payment.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2014.

Compare Benin to 188 other economies.

  • Court name: Cotonou First Instance Court, Commercial Chamber
  • Claim value: XOF 2,551,934
  • City: Cotonou
Indicator
Time (days) 750
Filing and service 30
Trial and judgment 405
Enforcement of judgment 315
Cost (% of claim) 64.7
Attorney cost (% of claim) 17.3
Court cost (% of claim) 36.5
Enforcement Cost (% of claim) 10.9
Procedures (number) 41
Filing and service
1      Plaintiff requests payment: Plaintiff or his lawyer asks Defendant orally or in writing to comply with the contract.
*      Plaintiff files a summons and complaint: Plaintiff files a summons and complaint with the court (orally or in writing).
*      Plaintiff pays court fees: Plaintiff pays court fees (e.g. court duties, stamp duties, or any other type of court fees). Answer ‘yes’ even if Plaintiff recovers these costs.
2      Registration of court case: Registration of court case by the court administration (this can include assigning a reference number to the case).
*      Assignment of court case to a judge: Assignment of court case to a judge (through a random procedure, automated system, ruling of an administrative judge, court officer, etc).
3      Judicial scrutiny of summons and complaint: Judge examines Plaintiff's summons and complaint for formal requirements as a matter of law or standard practice.
*      Arrangements for physical delivery of summons and complaint: Plaintiff takes the necessary steps to arrange for physical service of process on Defendant (e.g. instructing a court officer or a private bailiff).
*      Mailing of summons and complaint: Court or process server, including (private) bailiff, mails summons and complaint to Defendant.
4      Attempt at physical delivery: An attempt to physically deliver summons and complaint to Defendant is made.
5      Second attempt at physical delivery: If a first attempt is not ordinarily successful, a second attempt to physically deliver the summons and complaint to Defendant is required by law or standard practice. (Check ‘yes’ only if a first attempt at physical delivery is not ordinarily successful)
*      Proof of service: Plaintiff submits proof of service to court, as required by law or standard practice.
*      Application for pre-judgment attachment: Plaintiff submits an application in writing for the attachment of Defendant's property prior to judgment.
*      Decision on pre-judgment attachment: Judge decides whether to grant Plaintiff’s request for pre-judgment attachment of Defendant’s property and notifies Plaintiff and Defendant of the decision.
6      Pre-judgment attachment order: Defendant's property is attached prior to judgment. Attachment order either involves physical attachment, or is achieved by freezing, registering, marking, or otherwise separating and restricting Defendant’s movement of specific moveable assets.
7      Report on pre-judgment attachment: Court enforcement officer or private bailiff issues and delivers a report on the attachment of Defendant’s property to the judge.
8      Hearing on pre-judgment attachment: A hearing takes place as a matter of law or standard practice to resolve the question of whether Defendant’s assets can be attached prior to judgment. This process may include the submission of separate summons and petitions.
..
Trial and judgment
*      Defendant files preliminary objections.: Defendant presents preliminary objections to the court. (Preliminary exemptions differ from answers on the merits. Examples of preliminary motions are motions to dismiss on the basis of the statute of limitations or jurisdictional objections, etc.) Checke
*      Plaintiff’s answer to preliminary motions: Plaintiff responds to preliminary motions raised by Defendant. Checked as ‘yes’ if preliminary motions are commonly raised (step 30) and if Plaintiff responds to them immediately.
9      Judge’s resolution on preliminary objections: Judge decides on preliminary objections separately from the merits of the case. Checked as ‘yes’ if preliminary objections are commonly made (step 30) and if judge resolves the question before rendering his decision.
10      Defendant files an answer to Plaintiff’s claim: Defendant files a written pleading which includes his answer or defense on the merits of the case (see assumption 4).
11      Plaintiff’s written reply to Defendant's answer: Plaintiff responds to Defendant’s answer with a written pleading, which may or may not include witness statements or expert (witness) statements.
12      Filing of written submissions: Plaintiff and Defendant file written pleadings and submissions with the court and transmit copies of the written pleadings or submissions to one another. The pleadings may or may not include witness statements or expert (witness) statements.
13      Adjournments: Court procedure is delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment to submit written pleadings. Check as ‘yes’ if this commonly happens.
*      Court appointment of independent expert: Judge appoints, either at the parties' request or at his own initiative, an independent expert to decide whether the quality of the goods Plaintiff delivered to Defendant is adequate. (see assumption 5-b).
14      Notification of court-appointment of independent expert: The court notifies both parties that the court is appointing an independent expert (see assumption 5-b).
*      Delivery of expert report by court-appointed expert: The independent expert, appointed by the court, delivers his or her expert report to the court (see assumption 5-b).
15      Pre-trial conference on procedure: The judge meets with the parties to discuss procedural issues (for example which applications and motions parties intend to file, which documents parties intend to rely on, etc.).
16      Request for oral hearing or trial: Plaintiff lists the case for trial on the court’s calendar or applies for the date(s) for the oral hearing or trial.
*      Setting of date(s) for oral hearing or trial: Judge sets the date(s) for the oral hearing or trial.
17      Adjournments: Court proceedings are delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment to prepare for the oral hearing or trial as a matter of common practice.
18      Oral hearing (prevalent in civil law): The parties argue the merits of the case at an oral hearing before the judge. Witnesses and a court-appointed independent expert may be heard and questioned at the oral hearing.
19      Adjournments: Court proceedings are delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment during the oral hearing or trial, resulting in an additional or later trial or hearing date.
*      Request for closing of the evidence period: Plaintiff or Defendant requests the judge to close the evidence period.
20      Closing of the evidence period: The court makes the formal decision to close the evidence period.
21      Order for submission of final arguments: The judge sets a deadline for the submission of final factual and legal arguments.
*      Final arguments: The parties present their final factual and legal arguments to the court either by oral presentation or by a written submission.
22      Judgment date: The judge sets a date for delivery of the judgment.
23      Notification of judgment in court: The parties are notified of the judgment at a court hearing.
24      Writing of judgment: The judge produces a written copy of the judgment.
25      Registration of judgment: The court office registers the judgment after receiving a written copy of the judgment.
26      Court notification of availability of the written judgment: The court notifies the parties that the written judgment is available at the courthouse.
27      Plaintiff receives a copy of the judgment: Plaintiff receives a copy of the written judgment which is 100% in favor of Plaintiff (see assumption 6).
28      Defendant is formally notified of the judgment: Plaintiff or court formally notifies the Defendant of the judgment. The appeal period starts to run from the day the Defendant is formally notified of the judgment.
29      Appeal period: By law Defendant has the opportunity to appeal the judgment during a specified period. Defendant decides not to appeal. Seller decides to start enforcing the judgment when the appeal period ends (see assumption 8).
30      Order for reimbursement by Defendant of Plaintiff's court fees: The judgment orders Defendant to reimburse Plaintiff for the court fees Plaintiff has advanced, because Defendant has lost the case.
..
Enforcement of judgment
*      Plaintiff hires a lawyer: Plaintiff hires a lawyer to enforce the judgment or continues to be represented by a lawyer during the enforcement of judgment phase.
31      Plaintiff retains an enforcement agent to enforce the judgment.: Plaintiff retains the services of a court enforcement officer such as a court bailiff or sheriff, or a private bailiff.
32      Plaintiff advances enforcement fees: Plaintiff pays the fees related to the enforcement of the judgment.
33      Attachment of enforcement order to judgment: The judge attaches the enforcement order (‘seal’) to the judgment.
*      Delivery of enforcement order: The court's enforcement order is delivered to a court enforcement officer or a private bailiff.
*      Plaintiff’s request for physical enforcement: As Plaintiff commonly fears that Defendant might physically resist the taking into custody of its previously attached movable assets, Plaintiff requests the judge or the police authorities to obtain police assistance during the physical enforcement of the
34      Request to Defendant to comply voluntarily with judgment: Plaintiff, a court enforcement officer or a private bailiff requests Defendant to voluntarily comply with the judgment.
35      Plaintiff identifies Defendant's assets for attachment: Plaintiff identifies Defendant's assets for attachment.
36      Attachment: Defendant’s movable goods are attached (physically or by registering, marking or separating assets).
37      Enforcement disputes before court: The enforcement of the judgment is delayed because Defendant opposes aspects of the enforcement process before the judge.
38      Call for public auction: Judge calls a public auction by, for example, advertising or publication in the newspapers.
39      Sale through public auction: The Defendant’s movable property is sold at public auction.
40      Distribution of proceeds: The proceeds of the public auction are distributed to Plaintiff (and, where applicable, to other creditors, according to the rules of priority).
41      Reimbursement of Plaintiff’s enforcement fees: Defendant reimburses Plaintiff's enforcement fees which Plaintiff had advanced previously.
42      Payment: Court orders that the proceeds of the public auction or the direct sale be delivered to Plaintiff.
..

Number of Procedures 42
Specialized commercial courts -1
Total Number of Procedures 41.0
* Not counted in the total number of procedures

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