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Small Claims Courts to be expanded

Small Claims Courts to be expanded in Nairobi, other regions from October NAIROBI, Kenya, July 21.

The Judiciary will devolve Small Claims Courts to additional parts of Nairobi and other regions from October, Chief Justice Martha Koome has pledged.

The courts, according to the CJ, will simplify procedures, facilitate timely proceedings and harness fairness at reasonable fees.

“Operationalisation of the Small Claims Courts will enhance access to justice by expanding the reach of the formal justice system to areas un-served by the existing court system,” she said Wednesday after swearing-in two adjudicators of the court. The swearing-in of Keyne Odiambo Gweno and Martin Njeru Mutua brings the number of adjudicators at the Milimani Small Claims Courts to five.

The Chief Justice said expansion of the courts will be key in bringing justice to more Kenyans and further reduce the backlog at the Chief Magistrates’ Commercial Court and Criminal Courts. Last week, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services pledged to build five additional Small Claims Courts in Kasarani, Makadara, Dagoretti, Mathare and Embakasi within three months.

 

The Chief Justice projected that at least 10 courts would be rolled out in other regions this financial year. CJ Koome explained the Small Claims Courts will enhance access and expeditious delivery of justice, reduce the cost and time to hear and determine commercial disputes and clear the case backlog of cases in Magistrates’ Courts. She told the new adjudicators to be flexible and take active control of court processes to guarantee simple and timely disposal of cases.

“Small Claims Courts must be a forum for ‘community oriented’ justice that seeks to unlock access to justice for our communities at the lowest level. This demands that you ensure that the courts’ processes are accessible, cost-effective, friendly, flexible and simple,” she stressed.

The CJ explained that the court was bound to receive numerous cases following enhanced jurisdiction to Sh1 million and widened scope of jurisdiction.

“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,” she concluded.

 

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