The Judiciary has launched the first-ever Small Claims Court in the Country to determine suits for claims below Kshs 1 million, with rulings expected in 60 days.
Three adjudicators including Brenda Jaluha Ofisi, Susan Gakii Gitonga and Judith Patience Omollo were sworn in to work in the newly launched court.
Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who officially opened the court called on adjudicators handling the cases to ensure Kenyans seeking justice are served expeditiously and that cases are determined within the shortest time possible.
“Where you must adjourn and where exceptional circumstances exist and which you must record on the file when you may want to deliver. Let that be the exception rather than the rule,” she said.
She noted that a key priority of this court is the expeditious nature of how the judiciary is going to do things as the Act requires that all proceedings before this court on any particular day are to be heard and determined on the same day or on a day-to-day basis until its determination.
Cabinet Secretary for East African Community and Regional Development Adan Mohamed said the opening of the Small Claims Court will ensure business people in huge corporates and small and medium businesses get equal representation opportunities in the justice system.
We laud the Judiciary for this milestone that improves access to Justice for small and medium business in order to unlock capital tied in the courts pic.twitter.com/3OPB1c6f9I
— CS Adan Mohamed (@AdanMohamedCS) April 26, 2021
“With the number of days cut, fees waived and processes automated we hope that will now become an issue of the past,” Mohamed said.
He further added that over 65 percent of the backlog of court cases relate to the small and medium sizes businesses and presumably below the Sh1 million threshold that will now be the target of this court.
President of the Law Society of Kenya Nelson Havi who was present said the Small Claim Court will not only ensure that ordinary Kenyans get justice but will also create job opportunities for young advocates willing to serve as adjudicators.
“It is our expectation that the Small Claims court will prosper and flourish. Soon you will be joined by other adjudicators and it is our request that many adjudicators will be appointed and within the shortest time possible we will have small claim courts across the country with all the 47 counties represented,” Havi said.
The court will have the jurisdiction to hear and determine dispute cases relating to contracts for sale and supply of goods and services, money held and received liability in loss or damage of property, compensation for personal injuries among others.
The Small Claims Court is finally here for expedited non formalistic access to justice for commercial claims below Kshs 1,000,000.00 in value. Thank you CS Adan Mohamed and Acting Chief Justice Mbete Philomena Mwilu for delivering this timely Court for the People of Kenya. ^POLSK pic.twitter.com/xSTKqZsxsr
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) April 26, 2021
In May last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Small Claims Bill, 2020.
The Act, which came into effect on 30th April 2020, enabled the Small Claims Court to hear and determine expeditiously disputes involving small and medium size businesses that do not exceed Shs 1 million.