The judiciary has launched a Small Claims Court in Kajiado County that seeks to provide access to justice through a quick, inexpensive and expeditious informal process.
The establishment of the court is part of an initiative to enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
It’s aimed at reducing backlog in the magistrates’ courts by having disputes resolved informally, in a quick and affordable manner.
The court has jurisdiction to determine any civil claim relating to a contract for sale and supply of goods and services, a contract relating to money held and received, compensation for personal injuries, liability in tort in respect of loss or damage caused to any property or for the recovery of movable property and set- off and counterclaim under any contract.
The court will hear and determine cases within 60 days and handles matters with a monetary value of more than five thousand shillings but limited to one million shillings.
Speaking during the launch, Kajiado’s Chief Magistrate Liza Gicheha noted that the court has no technicalities and will serve the common mwananchi with ease.
“The wanjiku who sells in the market place can access justice easily as the court will operate in a way that the members of the public are able to understand,” she said.
Gicheha said that even those wananchi who do not know how to read and write can access the court through the Customer care desk, which will help them in filing their cases by filling the claim form for them as they narrate.
“However, a claim cannot be brought before the Small Claims Court if proceedings relating to that claim are pending in or have been heard and determined by any other court. However, a higher court may transfer a claim to the small Claims Court,” said Gicheha
The Magistrate also noted that the Small Claims Court cannot hear claims where the cause of action is founded upon defamation, libel, slander, malicious prosecution or upon a dispute over a title to or possession of land, or a matter concerning employment and labour relations.
The language of the court during any proceedings will be English, Kiswahili or any other appropriate language. The court will also facilitate the use by parties of indigenous languages, Kenyan sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities.
Kajiado Law Courts becomes the second court to house a Small Claims Court in Kenya after Milimani Commercial Chief Magistrates court which houses Nairobi Small Claims Court.
The court will commence its operations on Monday 24th January 2022 and advocates are urged to start filling cases by Friday, January 21, 2022
The judiciary plans to roll out the Small Claims Court in every sub county and progressively in other decentralized units of judicial service delivery within the country.
By Diana Meneto