Small Claims Courts Act, 1992
- Commenced on 31 July 1992
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 1996.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Small Claims Courts Act.
Part II – Establishment of small claims courts
3. Establishment of small claims courtsThere is hereby established small claims courts which shall be situated in such areas as the Chief Justice may consider necessary, having regard to the needs of a particular area.
4. Composition of a small claims courtOne arbitrator, sitting alone, shall constitute a small claims court.
5. Jurisdiction of a small claims courtThe jurisdiction of a small claims court shall be limited to liquidated claims of not more than four thousand fee units and shall be exercised by way of arbitration.[As amended by Act No. 13 of 1994]
6. Appointment of arbitratorsThe Commission acting in the name of, and on behalf of, the President may appoint such number of persons as it considers necessary to be arbitrators over small claims courts.
7. Qualifications for appointment as arbitratorNo person shall be qualified to be appointed as an arbitrator unless he is a legal practitioner of not less than five years standing.
8. Tenure of officeAn arbitrator shall be appointed on a part-time basis and shall be paid such allowance as may be prescribed under this Act.
9. Conflict of interestNo person shall sit as an arbitrator in any matter in which he is a party or, in which he has a direct or indirect pecuniary or personal interest.
10. Appointment of small claims courts officers
11. SittingsA small claims court shall sit at such times and places as may be necessary for the convenient and speedy despatch of business.
Part III – Proceedings in a small claims court
12. Proceedings to be in open court
13. Parties to appear in person
14. Aim of small claims court when adjudicatingA small claims court shall, when adjudicating, aim at the reconciliation of the parties and it shall be the primary function of the court to do substantial justice between the parties.
15. Language to be used
16. Court not to be bound by formal rules of evidence
Part IV – Powers of a small claims court
17. General powersA small claims court shall hear the facts of the case and receive any documents relating to the claim before it and do all such things as are authorised by this Act or, as are necessary for the exercise of its functions under this Act.
18. Issue of summons
19. Counter-claimsA counterclaim by the defendant may be made in a claim brought against him the claimant.
20. Powers relating to orders
21. Powers relating to enforcement of awardsA small claims court shall have the powers to enforce any award made under this Act including the issue of a warrant of distress under section twenty-four.
22. Finality of awardsThe awards of a small claims court shall be final, but appeal to the High Court shall be allowed on points of law only.
23. CostsThe court shall not order costs in any matter before it.
24. Powers relating to warrants of distress
Part V – Offences relating to administration of justice
25. Contempt of a small claims courtAny person who is subject to the jurisdiction of a small claims court and who, without reasonable excuse—
26. Obstruction of officers of small claims courtsAny person who obstructs, any officer of a small claims court or other person executing a warrant of distress or an order issued or made in the exercise of the powers conferred by this Act, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding four hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to both.[As amended by Act No. 13 of 1994]
27. Adjudication without authorityAny person who, without lawful authority, purports to exercise judicial functions as an arbitrator or, falsely holds himself out to be an arbitrator, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding eight hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or to both.[As amended by Act No. 13 of 1994]
Part VI – Miscellaneous
28. Funds of a small claims courtThe following moneys shall be paid into, or paid out of a revolving fund created for that purpose under section eight of the Finance (Control and Management) Act:
29. Administrative expenses
30. Immunity of arbitrators and officers of small claims courtsNo action or other proceedings shall lie or be instituted against an arbitrator or any other officer of a small claims court for, or in respect of, any act or thing done or omitted to be done in good faith in the exercise or purported exercise of his functions under this Act.
31. RulesThe Chief Justice may, by statutory instrument, make rules for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act, and, in particular, but without prejudice to the generality of such power, such rules may—
History of this document
31 July 1992