Chief Justice Martha Koome has launched a Small Claims Court to serve Machakos and Makueni Counties as part of the judiciary efforts to bring services closer to the people.
The court will conduct its sittings in Makueni County with a sub-registry for virtual court and e-filing support being maintained at the Machakos Law Courts, in efforts to enhance access to justice.
The CJ while speaking during the launch, said that the construction of the small claims court is aimed at improving justice for all Kenyans.
“The inauguration of this Small Claims Court speaks our commitment to enhance access to justice for all Kenyans and is testimony to the fact that we want our justice system to be people centered,” said CJ Koome.
According to CJ Koome, the benefits of the Small Claims Courts, include lower costs for hearing and deciding commercial disputes and personal injury claims worth less than Sh1 million, as well as fast delivery of justice by guaranteeing that cases are settled within 60 days of submitting claims.
She said that counties like Machakos were chosen because they have a high case load.
“In order to achieve this goal, we have deliberately picked court stations like Machakos, that have a high case load for targeted intervention through the Small Claims Courts,” said the Chief Justice.
CJ Koome added that the proceedings in the small claims court are flexible and straightforward, allowing unrepresented petitioners to prosecute their cases without difficulty.
The Judiciary has already established four operational Small Claims Court in Milimani, Kajiado, Thika and Eldoret. It is further planning to roll out similar courts in Mombasa, Nakuru, Naivasha, Kisumu, Kakamega and Meru in this financial year.
Last month, CJ Koome commissioned the construction of a Small Claims Court in Mihang’o, Embakasi which will be undertaken alongside four other sites in Kasarani, Dagoretti, Kayole, and Mukuru.
The first Small Claim Court was established and begun operations in April 2021 at Milimani Law Courts (Nairobi). The courts at Milimani are currently manned by 10 adjudicators.
The judiciary’s vision, according to Chief Justice Koome, is to develop 100 Small Claims Courts across the country by the end of 2022.
By Anne Kangero and Davis Otieno