NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 21- Chief Justice Martha Koome has committed to decentralizing Small Claims Courts in regions from October.
Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of two adjudicators, Koome said the courts will simplify procedures, facilitate timely proceedings and harness fairness at reasonable fees.
The swearing-in of Keyne Odiambo Gweno and Martin Njeru Mutua brings the number of adjudicators at the Milimani Small Claims Courts to five.
She told the new adjudicators to be flexible and take active control of court processes to guarantee simple and timely disposal of cases.
“Small Claims Courts must be a forum for ‘community oriented’ justice that seeks to unlock access to justice for our communities at the lowest level. This demands that you ensure that the courts’ processes are accessible, cost-effective, friendly, flexible and simple,” she stressed.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) had pledged to build five additional Small Claims Courts in Kasarani, Makadara, Dagoretti, Mathare and Embakasi within three months.
The CJ noted that the Small Claims Court at Milimani which has been in operation since April is a reflection of the impact the court will have in the overall administration of justice.
She observed that the 84-day-old court has so far heard and determined 481 cases out of a total of 1,222 cases which have been registered.
Koome projected that at least 10 courts will be rolled out in other regions this financial year.
She explained the Small Claims Courts will enhance access and expeditious delivery of justice, reduce the cost and time to hear and determine commercial disputes and clear the case backlog of cases in Magistrates’ Courts.
The Small Claims Courts were launched to exclusively deal with cases whose claimant value does not exceed Sh1 million and were ostensibly set up for expeditious delivery of justice.