Boost as small claims court unveiled
Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi
Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has launched Nairobi Small Claims Court which will deal with matters of monetary value of a million shillings and below.
Three adjudicators were also sworn in to deal with the civil matters relating to sale and supply of goods and services, contract relating to money held and received, compensation for personal injuries among others.
“Small Claims Courts will be key to enhancing access to justice both directly, in terms of the expeditious determination of relevant matters; but also in terms of reducing the case load in the Magistrates’ Courts,” said Mwilu at Milimani Law Courts yesterday.
The acting CJ said more than 50 per cent of the civil matters filed at Milimani Commercial Courts, among the busiest courts in the country, fall in the financial jurisdiction of Small Claims Courts.
The launch was graced by Industrialisation Cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi and Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi among other judicial staff.
Mwilu revealed the Small Claims Court would be opened in other areas across the country and asked for financial resources to build courts and registries, personnel and equipment.
“The Judiciary will continue to engage our partners in the Executive, Parliament and in the County Governments in this regard to deepen our engagements for our mutual benefit and that of the people we serve,” she said.
“An independent and well-resourced Judiciary has a positive impact on our social economic and human development.
It is now widely accepted that the Judiciary plays a critical role in strengthening Kenyans economy and trade,” she said.
She urged the Industrialisation CS to allocate Judiciary funds to facilitate their operations.
LSK President Nelson Havi said the court will enable ease of access to justice to Kenyans and create employment opportunities for youthful advocates.
“It is our expectation that the small claims court will prosper and flourish. It is our request that you will appoint many adjudicators and ensure the small claims court are in all the 47 counties,” he said.
Havi called for dialogue to resolve the strained relationship between the Judiciary and Executive but said he was still hopeful that the Executive will create a conducive environment for the growth of commerce and access to justice.
“To swear in the adjudicators was quite seamless. We may need to see ways in which we may amend the Constitution to ensure that when judges are appointed you can be sworn in a manner that does not invite oppression so that we are not limited in capacity,” he said.