Small claims court launched

2014-10-09 00:00

HOWICK residents now have the means to settle some civil disputes on their doorstep with the launch of a small claims court in the town yesterday.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said claims up to R15 000 could be settled in the court.

He said small claims courts are a cheaper way to recover losses, as the parties represent themselves with no lawyers allowed.

After the launch, he visited the Mpophomeni community where he addressed residents.

Jeffery said his department had to establish 12 more small claims courts to reach 100% coverage of such courts across the province. To make sure that the service was totally free, he said, they were in negotiations with the sheriffs’ offices, who normally charge money to attach property, to waive this fee when dealing with small claims cases.

Jeffery also addressed concerns from the legal fraternity over unfilled vacancies, especially in the Pietermaritzburg courts, that delayed cases. He said although there were unfilled vacancies, there was also a need for the courts to be used more efficiently.

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