ACCESS TO JUSTICE

Judiciary to add 10 small claims courts across Kenya

The first small claims court started operation on April 26, 2021

In Summary

•The CJ said the courts will be devolved to other regions in country beginning October 2021.

•The small claims courts will handle commercial disputes with a monetary value of less than Sh1 million. 

CJ Martha Koome during her assumption of office ceremony on May 24, 2021.
CJ Martha Koome during her assumption of office ceremony on May 24, 2021.
Image: FILE

Chief Justice Martha Koome has said that the Judiciary plans to have at least 10 more Small Claims Courts by the end of the 2021/2022 financial year.

In a statement on Wednesday, the CJ said the courts will be devolved to other regions in country beginning October 2021.

"It is my hope that the new courts within Nairobi will be key in bringing justice to more Kenyans and further reduce the backlog at the Chief Magistrates’ Commercial Court and the Criminal Courts within Nairobi," Koome said during the swearing in of Small Claims Courts Adjudicators.

She noted that the first of the courts which started operation on April 26 has heard and determined 481 cases out of the 1,222 registered.

Koome added that in collaboration with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, the Judiciary will roll out five additional Small Claims Courts in Kasarani, Makadara, Dagoretti, Mathare and Embakasi.

"The small claims courts will enhance access to justice by expanding the reach of the formal justice system to areas un-served by the existing court system," she said.

Koome explained the small claims courts will enhance access and expeditious delivery of justice, reduce the cost and time to hear and determine commercial disputes and clear the case backlog of cases in Magistrates’ Courts.

The swearing-in of Keyne Odiambo Gweno and Martin Njeru Mutua brings the number of adjudicators at the Milimani Small Claims Courts to five.

The CJ called on the adjudicators to ensure the courts serve their purpose.

"We should never transfer the problem of case backlog from the mainstream judicial system to the Small Claims Courts if they are to serve the goal of offering inexpensive and expedited justice"

"The attainment of this goal will to a large extent depend on how you (the adjudicators) approach your work," Koome said.

The small claims courts will handle commercial disputes with a monetary value of less than Sh1 million.