How Get Justice Through Small Claims Court

Judiciary Leadership
President William Ruto signing visitors' book while Judiciary leadership is standing by.

Kenya’s Small Claims Court is a subordinate court that was established under section 4 of the Small Claims Court Act No. 2 of 2016.

The court is charged with the responsibility of handling civil claims whose subject matter does not exceed Ksh1 Million.

According to Legal Notice No. 59 that was issued under the Public Finance Management Act, the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning waived court fees for commercial cases whose monetary value does not exceed Ksh1 million for a period of 2 years from 1st April 2020.

However, there is a nominal filing fee of not more than Ksh1,000,000 for some civil cases as may be advised by the registrar’s office.

Judges wearing their ceremonial robes and wigs
Judges wearing their ceremonial robes and wigs

“All other civil claims not enumerated under Section 12 (1) of the Small Claims Act are excluded.

Some of these may include; claims whose cause of action is founded upon defamation, libel, slander, malicious prosecution, divorce or dispute over a title to or possession of land or a matter concerning employment and labour relations,” Judiciary explained on its website.

Section 12 (1) of the Small Claims Act, 2016, has given the court jurisdiction over civil claims relating to matter of contract for sale and supply of goods and services.

The court is also allowed to handle matters on contract relating to money held and received and liability in tort in respect to loss and damage caused to any property or for movable property.

Small Claims Act, 2016 also allows the court to make decisions on compensation for personal injuries and set off and counter claim under any contract whose subject matter does not exceed Ksh 1 million.

Anyone as well as a corporate entity is allowed to institute an action in the Small Claims court as long as the demands do not exceed Ksh1 Million.

The person filing a case at Small Claims Court is referred to as Claimant while a person who is being sued is known as the respondent.

Claimant can institute a case through a statement of claim in the prescribed form SCC 1 as per the provision of section 23 of the Small Claims Court Act.

The claim form is readily available on the website of Kenya’s Judiciary from where the claimant may download it.

The claimant is also required to attach copies of evidence to support the case filed.

“A claimant may choose to prosecute his/ her claim in person or through a representative who may be an advocate,” Judiciary explained on its website.

There after the claimant is required to serve the responded with a copy of the statement of claim as well as any supporting documents in support of the claim and file a certificate of service to that effect.

In her State of the Judiciary Report on Friday, November 4, Chief Justice Martha Koome highlighted progress made in making justice available through the Small Claims Court.

"Another transformative intervention during the year was the establishment of 11 Small Claims Courts. During the period, the Small Claims Court resolved 9,315 cases, releasing Kshs1.431 billion into the economy," stated the CJ.

Ex-Chief Justice David Maraga during the the swearing in of judges aat State House Nairobi on Wednesday, September 14,2022. ersation outside the Supreme Court.
Former Chief Justice David Maraga (far right) poses for a photo with President William Ruto, DP Rigathi Gachagua, Chief Justice Martha Koome and Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu during the swearing-in of six judges at State House Nairobi on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.
CJ Martha Koome