Kakamega Small Claims Court has determined 1,000 out of the 1,200 cases filed since May last year when it came into operation.
Speaking during the swearing-in of two adjudicators (magistrates) for the court’s division, Kakamega Resident Judge Dalmus Ohungo said the courts are awake to their desire for speedy dispensation of justice on small claims.
“We loud the milestone which is in line with the Small Claims Court Act, 2016, that is, to enhance the access to and expeditious delivery of justice and provide a platform within the justice system where civil and commercial disputes whose value does not exceed Sh1 million are dealt with in a simple, efficient and cost-efficient manner,” he said at the Kakamega Law Courts on Monday.
The judge, who was accompanied by Justices Patrick Otieno and Chebet Chirchir, explained that unlike the regular courts, the Small Claims Court was characterized by simplicity of the procedure, cost-effectiveness and speedy resolution of disputes, thereby enhancing delivery of justice.
The judges said the courts would also enhance the ease of doing business in the country by creating an enabling environment for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive by reducing the cost and time for enforcement of commercial disputes.
Two adjudicators, Caroline Cheruiyot and Jackline Muthoni Ojwang’ noted that the cost of filing a case in the courts ranges from Sh200 to 1,000, and litigants don't necessarily need a lawyer to represent them as the courts operate in a simpler way.
Hefty court fees, the complexity of procedures and delays in the determination of cases have been cited as barriers to access to justice, more so to the marginalized, vulnerable and those with complex needs.
“The courts offer basic or if you like, community level justice the reason you will see vegetable vendors, your average business, person walk in and get justice within 60 days,” said Cheruiyot.
She said that in their short existence, the Small Claims Court has achieved social inclusion by ensuring all persons have equal access to fair and timely justice.