Counties

Boost for small claims courts as CJ gazettes 20 adjudicators

cj

Chief Justice Martha Koome on Friday, November 19, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

BDgeneric_logo

Summary

  • Chief Justice Martha Koome on Friday gazetted the judicial officers as adjudicators for small claims courts, which have since been devolved to others regions outside Nairobi.
  • In a Kenya gazette notice published on Friday, the CJ gazetted five adjudicators for Nairobi and 15 others for Kakamega, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Thika, Mombasa and Naivasha. Others were posted to Nakuru, Nyeri, Machakos and Meru.

Kenyans in counties with disputes valued at Sh1 million and less should expect faster settlement after the Chief Justice gazetted 20 new adjudicators.

Chief Justice Martha Koome on Friday gazetted the judicial officers as adjudicators for small claims courts, which have since been devolved to others regions outside Nairobi.

In a Kenya gazette notice published on Friday, the CJ gazetted five adjudicators for Nairobi and 15 others for Kakamega, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Thika, Mombasa and Naivasha. Others were posted to Nakuru, Nyeri, Machakos and Meru.

“…as Adjudicators in any proceedings under the Act, at the established courts named in the second column of the Schedule, for a period of twelve (12) months, with effect from the 3rd January, 2022,” the notice stated.

The Small Claims Act was passed in 2016 and it was not until April last year that the court got its first station in Nairobi County after gazettement and official launch.

“The Small Claims Court at Milimani which has been in operation since April 26, 2021 is a reflection of the impact the court will have in the overall administration of justice. For the period the court has been in operation, a total of 1,222 cases have been registered and 481 cases heard and determined,” Justice Koome said in July last year when she swore in two adjudicators.

Small claims court handles cases valued at less than Sh1 million and was introduced as part of plans to reduce the case backlog, which has bogged down the Judiciary over the years.

The courts are meant to hear simple cases like sale and supply contracts, property damage and loss and claims from personal injury. They should finalise each case within 60 days of filing because the hearing is conducted on day to day basis.

According to the Small Claims Court Act, cases filed at the court are heard and determined on the same day or proceedings are conducted on a day-to-day basis until the final determination.

Other than entertaining disputes of a commercial nature, the small claims court has jurisdiction to hear matters on personal injury and breach of contracts, which have a claim of less than Sh1 million.

The court does not demand strict observance of technical procedures and the process is easier to follow.

[email protected]