Traders, residents recover Sh35m through small claims court

Fast, cheap and you can represent yourself as justice really does come closer to the people.

In Summary

• Cases are included in six months or less and court encourages people to represent themselves as it's faster..

• They only handle civil matters, not criminal ones. They only handle cases involving less than Sh1 million.

The scales of justice
SMALL CLAIMS COURT: The scales of justice
Image: OZONE

The revolutionary Small Claims Court fast tracks civil cases and concludes them in six months or less.

The court opened in Nakuru in May and has assisted the business community and residents recover Sh35 million.

Court administrator John Lokwang said if the cases had followed the laid down legal procedures of civil courts, it would have taken much longer to recover the compensation.

Delay slows the economy and hinders business.

Lokwang said since the court was opened, it has handled 459 cases, which are mainly commercial and miscellaneous claims.

They involve people who might have borrowed money from a relative or colleague but adamantly refused to pay, while dodging them with numerous excuses and promises.

The official said many wananchi were not aware of the Small claims Court.

He urged the media to publicise it.

"The reported cases have a timeline of 60 days to be heard and resolved. We normally deal with petty cases like the supply of goods, personal injury, money held by someone and contract-related ,” he said.

The court is only allowed to deal with cases involving less than Sh1 million. Filing a case costs Sh200 to Sh1,000.

Lokwang said the claimant can choose to represent himself or herself, or hire a lawyer. Many prefer to represent themselves because the court seems friendlier and encourages it for faster dispensation of cases.

In higher, formal courts, motions and delays can be granted, delaying the conclusion.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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