The Small Claims Court was established by the Small Claims Act 2016. It is a subordinate court in the court system structure in Kenya under Article 169 (1) of the Constitution. This was a superb initiative to counter the legal problems SME owners face and the common Mwananchi by extension.
The goal is to enhance the ease of doing business in Kenya by reducing the backlog of cases and resolving disputes through simple, inexpensive, and expeditious procedures, thus enhancing access to justice.
Jurisdiction of the court
Section 12(1) of the Small Claims Court Act provides that the court has jurisdiction to hear civil claims relating to:-
- a) A contract of sale and supply of goods or services
- b) A contract relating to money held and received
- c) Liability in tort
- d) Compensation for personal injuries
- e) Set off and counterclaim under any contract.
The Small Claims Court is, however, limited in jurisdiction. Limits that work more to your advantage, than not. One, they can only preside over money matters not exceeding Kenya Shillings One Million (Kshs.1 000,000), excluding interests and costs. These are more likely to consume less time before getting a ruling. Second, as provided by Section 11(2) of the Small Claim Court Act, they have local limits. But thanks to the efforts of the Judiciary Service Commission, in the able hands of Chief Justice Martha Koome, we will have one in every county. So far, we have operational courts in counties such as Kajiado, Nyeri, Kiambu, and Eldoret, to name but a few.
The court is presided over by an adjudicator, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, with at least three years of experience.
Why file at the Small Claims Court
- Simplified Court procedures – The court does not follow the civil procedure rules that drag matters longer.
- The filing fees are affordable – New civil or commercial claims range from Kshs. 200 – 1000 depending on the value of the claim. There are no fees for subsequent documents, e.g., affidavits.
- Expeditious determination of your claim – Once your Claim is registered, if your debtor does not respond in 16 days, you can seek a summary judgment from the court. Also, the court is required to hear and determine a matter within 60 days after filing.
- Fair Proceedings – The proceedings are fair and transparent, just like any other court. Despite dealing with small claims, the administration of justice is impeccable.
- E-case management – innovations like e-filing, virtual court attendances, and e-services have made the procedures at the court effective.
We will not lie to you. You do not need a lawyer for this process. All you have to do is make sure you have all the documents to back your claim, and then you can proceed to download the small claims court pdf format form.
If you have ever gone for a long hike or mountain climbing, you know that even if you have all the maps and know precisely the route, you should follow. You can never replace the convenience of having a guide who is well familiar with the territory. If you can afford one, do not hesitate.
Being SMEs ourselves, we understand the struggle of running a business and how any interruption of the cash flow may be the difference between breaking even and breaking down. We hope the information above is helpful and will guide you in taking legal action.
The above information is a generalization and may not be helpful on its own for some cases. For any questions, clarification, or specialized inquiries, contact us on our hotline or leave a comment, and you will get a response as soon as possible.