By Lenkidi Mpapa
“Kuna deal nangoja ikiiva nakusort” is a common phrase the creditors are slapped with every time you try follow on someone who owes you. It’s loosely translated to mean “there is a deal which is almost going through so that you can be paid”
Almost everyone in Kenya has debt, even the Government has debt but that is not the problem, it is the debtor making any effort to repay your debts or they are running away from their obligations.
Well, most businesses or individuals find themselves between a rock and a hard place in trying to recover bad debts. The rock being the expensive costs of filing debt recovery cases and the hard place which is the period these cases take in court before determination, needless to mention the hustle of administering and balancing enormous egos of some lawyers here and there.
Now you can recover your debts within 60 days maximum by filing a suit in the Small Claims Court.
The court is designed to settle civil and commercial disputes in a timely manner with regard to minimum rules, fewer formalities and less technicalities. It is mandated to provide a judicial determination of disputes involving small amounts of money not exceeding 1 Million shillings.
The SMEs and content creators who struggle to get paid once work is done and delivered to their clients, through delay and or denial, the Small Claims Court will come to their aid and assisting the resolution of non-payment for service delivery, so long as they have valid contracts thereof, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business in Kenya, whilst protecting the legal and economic rights as per the contracts.
If someone, the “deal iive guy” owes you money between 10,000 to 1 Million, take them to the Small Claims Court. You do not require to hire an advocate to represent you. There is a form you will fill indicating your particulars, names of the debtor, the amount owed and attach the documents to prove existence of the debt such as agreement.
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This is a departure from the traditional pleadings (forms) that contain legal structures and complexities that only legal practitioners can comprehend.
The small claims court was introduced to the Kenyan Judiciary through Gazzette Notice 3791 dated 23rd April, 2021 and is governed by the Small Claims Act.
The court is a magic since it employs new procedures and techniques to dispose of the case. It is by design meant to assist ordinary Kenyans access justice without having to know much about the law or tedious court processes.
The court facilitates citizen’s access to justice and opens the courts to the public directly. Commercially speaking, due to the volumes and the speedy dispensation of justice, the Court is going a long way into freeing money into the economy without having to wait for 10 years to have your case determined.
To add icing on the cake, it is not just a matter of debts. The other claims that the court can settle include;
iii. Compensation for personal injuries- accident related or work related
Proceedings are done in a timeous manner with deadlines and to their conclusion. Section 34 of the Small Claims Court Act provides that all proceedings shall be heard and determined on the same day or on a day-to-day basis until final determination. The court has to hear and determine a matter within 60 days (2 months) from the date it was instituted.
The Court may only adjourn the hearing of any matter under exceptional and unforeseen circumstances which shall be recorded and be limited to a maximum of three adjournments.
To put this into perspective, about 6 matters we filed in the small claims between January and April 2022 have already been heard and determined and debts recovered.
Creditors have better memories than debtors, if you remember someone who owes you or your business, never let them die with your money; your business will sink under the disguise of being a bunch of holy rollers. You worked hard for it.
The discovery of small magic for small businesses in the small claims court has made it possible to recover your bad debts.
Disclaimer; Please note that this article is meant for general information only, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
Lenkidi Mpapa is a Lawyer at Kimani Mwangi Advocates LLP. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL. B) from the University of Nairobi. He is a Legal Assistant to the partners and has a comprehensive understanding of legal research and a great understanding of Criminal Law, Commercial Law as well as Conveyancing Law. Get in touch with him via email@example.com