Beware the Domicilium Citandi et Executandi

Every contract that you sign will require you to state your domicilium citandi et executandi (Oh, how attorneys love their latin!). Stop right there! You are about to fall deep into a trap.

The meaning of the Latin is roughly "the place where legal notices can be served on you".

Never, ever, ever give a street address as your domicilium, because if you do, and you subsequently move from that address, any summonses or other legal notices in respect of that contract will be served at a place where you, or your company no longer resides.

You won't even know that you've been summonsed. Your creditor (or whoever summonsed you) will then go to court without your knowledge and get a summary judgement against you, because you didn't enter a motion to defend.

So what should you do? Cross out any address that the other party entered for you. If you have a company say, XYZ (Pty) Ltd, write in the following. If you don't have a company, then use the company of a close friend.

"The Registered Office at the time of XYZ (Pty) Ltd which for the time being is <then write the present Registered Office street address>"

So now, when your company moves, the Registered Office will be changed at CIPC by your company secretaries and summonses will be delivered to you at the right place. Do this always for all contracts, whether in your personal capacity or on behalf of your company.

Be very careful of the banks. They get you to fill in your residential address at the beginning of the contract, then near the end they put something to the effect that you choose as your domicilium citandi et executandi the address on page 1. It is this last clause that you must modify.


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